Progressive Tolerance: Tel Aviv’s New Shabbat Siren Ban

Tel Aviv beach (Image credit: Roman Möckli [CC BY-ND 2.0] via flickr)

The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality this month began banning the Shabbat music and sirens played on Fridays to announce the approaching Sabbath, on the initiative of Tel Aviv Deputy Mayor Meital Lahavi of the far-left Meretz faction. Lahavi claimed the broadcasts violate noise ordinances, an assertion now being challenged by a counter-lawsuit.

The Tel Aviv ban is yet another emblematic example of the culture war for the identity of Israel. Will it be the Jewish homeland, or just another New York or Los Angeles on the Mediterranean?

One wonders how the Left, who strive to erase all traces of Israel’s Jewish character, are not stopped in their tracks by this latest intellectual contradiction.

They want to stifle the five-minute, once-a-week Shabbat song that greets the onset of Shabbat, and yet vigorously defend the five times daily Muslim loudspeaker call to prayer. Those five times include just before sunrise — that is 4:00 a.m.

I am forced to hear the muezzin Muslim call to prayer daily, as the Mosque loudspeakers a mile from my window often wake me up. I have called the police and registered formal complaints about the existing anti-noise laws being broken. What response did I get? Gornisht — nothing.

One cop finally leveled with me. He said, "Look, it’s just too dangerous to go into those places."

However, bravery is apparently not required of the Tel Aviv cops to issue a warrant to a synagogue for five minutes of Shabbat song once a week. All that is needed are orders from their masters in the municipality.

These stalwarts are hard at work making sure that the “first Hebrew city” is known for its popular gay parades, attracting tens of thousands from all over, and not ("G-d" forbid) for Shabbat song. That's progress.

The Tel Aviv Municipality encompasses Jaffa, where scores of mosques blare their noise five times a day, waking up tens of thousands. Not a problem for the Leftist elders of Tel Aviv.

This is the picture of tolerance. Tolerating mosque noise is a badge to wear with pride. Synagogue "noise" is a barbaric assault on the urbane ambiance and tranquility of a progressive city.

I recall once approaching a far-Left member of the Jerusalem Municipality — yes, we have a few here too. I asked if I could discuss noise pollution in Jerusalem. He was eager to lend his ear as a devout civil servant should.

As soon as I identified the object of my complaint — the mosques of Jerusalem — he quickly walked away.

I would love to be able to send the souls of such people through a spiritual CAT scan. I fear it would look very much like a smoker’s lungs. Like smokers, they are addicted to a malady that cannot be addressed with reason or even the argument of self-preservation.

How do we prevent them from taking their "first smoke"? How can we help them before their souls are so black with self-hatred and self-destruction, and before they can negatively affect us with their "second-hand smoke"? How?

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...הָרִימִי בַכֹּחַ קוֹלֵךְ מְבַשֶּׂרֶת יְרוּשָׁלִָם הָרִימִי אַל תִּירָאִי אִמְרִי לְעָרֵי יְהוּדָה הִנֵּה אֱלֹקֵיכֶם! (ישעיה  מ:ט)

...Raise your voice with strength, herald of Jerusalem; raise it, do not be afraid; say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your G-d!"

(Isaiah 40:9)

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