An Arab member of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, has revealed that a vote will be held next week on the bill to ban the Muslim call to prayer. Ahmed Tibi MK pledged a “parliamentary, political and judicial” fight against the proposal, Anadolu has reported.
“They attempted to vote on it today [Wednesday],” said Tibi, “but failed because, we, the opposition, opposed it. They will likely put it for a vote next Wednesday.”
The bill, which was approved by the government, was turned down last week after an objection by the Minister of Health Yaakov Litzman, the leader of the Yehodot Hatorah Party. He fearing that it would also force the toning down of the sirens that announce the start of the Jewish day of rest at sundown each Friday.
Litzman lifted his objections after the bill was amended to apply only between 23:00 and 07:00, limiting its scope to the first of the five daily Muslim calls to prayer just before dawn, Fajr.
However Tibi added: “The understandings were reached between the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Yehodot Hatorah. They do not concern us. We are against the whole bill.”
He insisted that there is no place for such a bill which damages the religious sensitivities of the Muslims and their rituals. “As such, we will continue with a parliamentary, political and judicial fight against it.” He noted that the Israeli Supreme Court would be one of the tools in the struggle.
Yesterday evening, the Imam of Al-Aqsa Mosque, Shaikh Ekrema Sabri, said that the bill was modified only to exclude the times of Jewish rituals. “All of the proposed restrictions on the call to prayer remain,” he pointed out.