Israel Maintains Daylight Saving Time Amidst Public Debate and War - Winter clock returns tonight


by Ifi Reporter Category:Government Oct 27, 2023

Daylight Saving Time (DST) in Israel, a contentious issue that sparked nationwide debate, will not be extended this year, despite fervent petitions and calls for postponement in light of an ongoing state of emergency. The Israeli Ministry of the Interior, after much deliberation, opted to stick with the annual switch to standard time, setting the stage for shorter days and earlier sunsets.

Traditionally, DST in Israel ends on the last Sunday in October, when the clocks are set back by one hour, granting an extra hour of sleep but causing nightfall to arrive earlier. This year, as the nation grapples with the challenges of a wartime situation, the discussion around DST became more intense. A petition, signed by tens of thousands of Israelis, proposed delaying the transition to winter time by two months or until the state of emergency subsides. The rationale behind this proposal was to boost national morale during the ongoing conflict, with concerns that early sunsets would negatively impact citizens' well-being, especially those involved in military operations.

The idea of postponing the clock change isn't new, as it resurfaces annually during the onset of winter. However, the current situation has heightened its prominence, leading to discussions at the economic-social cabinet level. Economy Minister Nir Barkat expressed support for the initiative, emphasizing its potential positive effects on the economy and the national mood. Minister Yifat Shasha Biton and Minister Gideon Sa'ar also endorsed the idea, citing the importance of extended daylight hours.

Notably, there were objections from Shas ministers, who argued that a delayed clock change would hinder morning prayers by pushing Shaharit an hour later. Minister Shlomo Karai of the Likud also opposed the proposal. Additionally, Interior Minister Moshe Arbel of Shas pointed out the potential technological disruptions to information and computing systems, such as flight schedules, as a result of a sudden change in time.

Ultimately, after careful consideration, the Ministry of the Interior decided to adhere to the traditional DST schedule. Minister Moshe Arbel stated, "The issue of extending daylight saving time was examined by professionals who recommended avoiding changes in a short period of time that could affect the information and computing systems, including the flight schedule, and based on their recommendation, it was decided to leave it in place."

Winter time will continue for five months, with the return to summer time scheduled for March 29, 2024. As Israel maintains its annual time change routine, the nation continues to face the complex challenges of both wartime conditions and the ongoing DST debate.



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