God vs Daylight Saving TimeSeptember 6, 2010 - 8:24 AM | by: Dana Karni
When God said “let there be light”, little did he realize the fight it would start one day in the Holy Land – the fight over Daylight Saving Time.
Sunday Israel will switch back to Standard Time, two months before the U.S. does and well over a month before Europe; it has nothing to do with the weather or daylight and everything to do with religion and politics.
By law Israel switches back to Standard Time on the Sunday before Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) in which Jews are required to fast from sunset till sunset the next day. Switching to Standard Time makes the fasting easier since those who fast get to sleep an hour more and the fasting ends “earlier”.
This has always upset the secular Jews in Israel, but this year with Yom Kippur falling particularly early on the calendar the resentment runs deeper. This year some secular Jews began a petition collecting over 100,000 signatures in just a few days. They want to keep Daylight Saving Time for a while longer—and their arguments go way beyond letting “there be light”:
- The early switch will cost millions of dollars to the Israeli economy as people consume more energy for light, some working hours shorten, and production goes down after sundown,
- It will increase the chances of car accidents for more driving is done in dark hours.
- Studies show it will shorten quality time parents spend with their children as less time is left for outdoor activities after school hours
Knesset Member, Nitzan Horowitz, also joined the call and he is now submitting a bill to end Daylight Saving Time on the last Sunday of October as Europe does.
Reacting to the public lightning storm interior Minister, Eli Yishai, from the religious party Shas, said that he would consider moving back to daylight saving after the Yom Kippur fast, but officials in his ministry quickly clarified that there will be NO double time switch, at least not this year.
Religious people call the pressure on daylight saving “a provocation” by seculars. While the seculars remind the religious, that God did not mean for fasting to be easy, and playing with the clock might not be in keeping with the idea of “afflict the soul” which is what the fasting is all about.
So is there any daylight at the end of the tunnel? Not this year, with the change just a week a week away it appear the most religious rather than God will decide when there is light.