Jerusalem Residents Protest Muezzin Noise
Residents of Pisgat Ze’ev, an eastern neighborhood of Jerusalem, emulated a muezzin call early Thursday morning in front of the Beit Hakerem residence of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to protest ongoing disturbances from Muslim calls to prayer emanating from the Shuafat, Beit Hanina and A-ram neighborhoods.
“There is a ‘noise regulation’ law in Israel restricting the amount, duration, source and timing of noise [in the public sphere] and the Muezzin calls are an infringement on that legislation,” said right-wing activist and member of the Jerusalem City Council Aryeh King, to Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
“Over the last year, the Muezzins have ramped up the volume to insane levels, not only for [prayer calls] but also of weddings and other celebrations,” he stated.
King said that in 2015, the Jerusalem City Council budgeted half a million shekels to enforce those regulations and to find technological solutions to resolve the issue. However, in October 2015, Mayor Barkat decided to reallocate this money for other pressing matters.
“I tried to convince him [Barkat] not cut the budget, and he promised to redistribute the funds on that issue during 2016. But a year has gone by and nothing has been done, which is why we decided to protest,” said King to TPS.
The activists came at 6am to perform the muezzin call and claimed that they actually showed consideration to Barkat and the neighbors by not doing so at the actual time that they are routinely woken up.
“This morning we had to shatter the tranquility of Beit Hakerem in Jerusalem as part of our struggle with the muezzin noise [with] loudspeakers in order to emulate the sounds mosques disturbing thousands of families in the various neighborhoods of Jerusalem,” said Yossi Davidoff, one of the organizers.