Eyal Golan – weapon of mass destruction? (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 07/11/12)
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Residents of Jerusalem’s French Hill neighborhood have a secret
weapon in their fight against deafening muezzin calls from
neighboring Arab villages. It has a shaved head, a scalp tattoo, and
croons “Mitga’agea” (I Miss You) with an impressive Mizrahi swagger.
It’s not a bird, it’s not a plane – it’s Eyal Golan.
French Hill Community Council director Yochanan Bechler says
negotiations with Issawiya religious leaders to lower the volume of
the local muezzin have gone nowhere, and residents are fed up with
the calls to prayer that roll over their homes at 4 a.m. So the
community has floated a new idea: Blast Eyal Golan at 3 a.m. to give
Issawiya residents a taste of their own medicine.
Bechler, for his part, would prefer they play Mozart at full volume.
“That way, it will even be classy,” he said Tuesday.
Other residents said that they might switch to heavy metal because
Golan wasn’t annoying enough.
The community council director said the muezzin calls were part of a
long series of complaints against French Hill’s Arab neighbors,
including a rash of sexual harassment against women walking at night,
shooting into the air during weddings, fighting with kids on the
sports field, and bringing drugs and alcohol into the neighborhood.
Bechler has been in contact with Issawiya muktar (community leader)
Darwish Darwish to request that the imams turn the muezzin calls down
a notch. Darwish told The Jerusalem Post that the imams had agreed to
lower the volume three months ago, but it was apparently not low
enough for the French Hill residents, who have continued to complain.
“They want to do this against the faith of God and against Islam,”
Darwish said on Tuesday. “This is our tradition, we get up at 4 a.m.”
He said the French Hill community council was “extremist” and accused
it of being inflexible.
“We get up at 4 a.m., so if they put [music] on at 3 a.m., they’ll
just be helping us, so we’ll definitely be ready for our prayers,” he
Bechler denied that the initiative was motivated by racism or anti-
“We don’t want to close the muezzin, there are rights for everyone,”
he said. “But where there are rights, [it shouldn’t be] at the
expense of someone else – they need to get their full rights, but so
do the residents of French Hill. The problem here isn’t an argument
about religion; on Yom Kippur, they drive through our neighborhoods
at full speed, which is incredibly disrespectful.”
The proposal will be on the agenda next week at a neighborhood
meeting. If the residents approve it, Bechler said, the neighborhood
will look into different possibilities for rigging up the speakers,
including putting them on balconies of apartments facing Issawiya or
other areas right on the seam between the neighborhoods.
He added that the community council was checking into the legality of
the initiative, since it was not interested in breaking the law, but
he expected to find a way to operate the speakers early in the
morning or at the same time as the muezzin call.
A municipality spokesman declined to comment on the initiative and
said police handled all noise complaints.
Noise regulations are determined by the Environmental Protection
Ministry, which stipulates that building construction, digging and
demolition cannot occur between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Noisy gardening
tools are prohibited during those hours, as well as during “siesta
time” between 2 p.m.
and 4 p.m.
According to Islamic tradition, there are five designated daily
Islamic prayer services.
Preceding each service is the adhan, a call to prayer from a mosque’s
minaret, which is usually amplified by loudspeakers. The times change
based on the sunrise, but currently the earliest call to prayer is at
4:06 a.m. and the last call to prayer is at 9:20 p.m. in the
In December 2011, MK Anastasia Michaeli (Yisrael Beytenu) proposed a
bill to restrict “unreasonably loud noise” emanating from houses of
prayer, including any sound disturbances from synagogues, churches
and mosques. The so-called “muezzin bill” garnered widespread
opposition for being anti-Muslim and was delayed indefinitely, though
Michaeli’s spokeswoman said on Tuesday that Michaeli was still
pursuing the bill. Sharon Udasin contributed to this report. (© 1995-
2011, The Jerusalem Post 07/11/12)
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