Press Release

The Israel Democracy Institute on the Bill That Would Forbid the Use of Loudspeakers In Houses Of Prayer:

The proposal is intended to harm freedom of religion and the Muslim community under the guise of the need to reduce noise.

Policy statement: 'The current law already completely provides a way to deal with these kinds of issues, and there is no reason to change it.'

Ahead of today's vote in the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on a proposal that requests forbidding the use of loud speakers in houses of prayer, the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) sent a sharply-worded letter to the Ministerial Committee urging them to oppose it. The statement, written by IDI Vice President Prof. Mordechai Kremnitzer and IDI researcher Dr. Amir Fuchs, says the bill is not necessary because the current law already opposes causing unreasonable noise. The writers add there is no doubt that the bill is intended to harm mosques (and not houses of prayer in general, as it is presented by its sponsors), because mosques are the only houses of prayer that use loudspeakers.

Further, Kremnitzer and Fuchs present say the bill's accompanying explanation hides that it is intended to harm use of the loudspeakers for nationalist reasons that have nothing to do with noise.

The writers conclude: "The bill is intended not to deal with harm, but rather to harm freedom of religion. If the bill is advanced, it will encourage rifts in the Israeli community and harm the Muslim public. The government must maintain the norms of equality and defend freedom of religion by preventing this bill from entering the laws of Israel."

Full policy statement (in Hebrew).

See also:
Renteln,  Alison Dundes. "The Tension between Religious Freedom and the Noise Law: The Call to Prayer in a Multicultural Society." Religion and the Discourse of Human Rights. Ed. Prof. Yedidia Stern and Prof. Hanoch Dagan. Jerusalem: Israel Democracy Institute, 2014. 375-411.