Jerusalem (Online): Israeli ministers on Sunday ratified a draft of contentious bill that say Muslims are meant to silence the traditional call (Azaan) to prayer, the justice ministry released information.
A list of draft legislation was passed after vote in the powerful ministerial committee; legislation marked the "bill for prevention of noise from public address systems in houses of prayer". It gave no more details regarding the bill.
The draft, approved by the committee that chaired by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party, will now go before parliament as a government bill.
The bill has become commonly known as the "muezzin law" after the lay Muslim officials charged with calling the faithful to prayer, often through powerful speakers mounted on minarets.
An earlier draft was rejected because it might have silenced the siren sounded in Jewish areas at sunset on Friday to mark the start of the sabbath.
The revised version bans amplified sound nightly, from 11:00 pm (2100 GMT) to 7:00 am, limiting its scope to the first of the five daily Muslim calls (Azaan) to prayer just before dawn.
Israeli Arab MP Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint Arab List, said in a statement, "This law does not deal with noise nor with quality of life, just with racist incitement against a national minority."
He said, "The voice of the muezzin was heard here long before the racists of the (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu government and will after them."
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin has spoken against the bill, which has sparked outrage around the Arab and wider Muslim world, saying that he believes existing noise pollution regulations provide a solution.
According to an Israeli official, if passed into law the bill would apply to mosques in annexed Arab east Jerusalem as well as Israel, but not to the highly sensitive Al-Aqsa mosque compound, Islam's third holiest site.
The bill's sponsor, Motti Yogev, also of the Jewish Home, says the legislation is necessary to avoid daily disturbance to the lives of hundreds of thousands of non-Muslim Israelis.