5-speed listening (Level 3)

Israel backs bill to make mosques quieter



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Israel's government has approved a bill to make mosques quieter. If the bill is passed into law, Israel's mosques will not be able to use loudspeakers during the call to prayer. The call to prayer happens five times a day across the Muslim world. The first time is at dawn and the last is after sunset. The bill has to pass several more stages in Israel's parliament to become law. The bill says the volume of loudspeakers at mosques is too high and damages the quality of life for people who live near mosques. Israeli politician Moti Yogev proposed the bill and said that hundreds of thousands of Israelis, "suffer regularly and daily from noise caused by the [prayer] calls from mosques".

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he supported the bill. He said: "Israel is committed to freedom of religion, but it must also protect citizens from the noise of the announcements." An Arab member of Israel's government said the bill was racist. He said it was, "another law in a series of racist…laws that only aim to create an atmosphere of hatred…against the Arab public". Another critic said: "The real aim of the bill is not to prevent noise, but rather to create noise that will hurt all of society and the efforts to establish [harmony] between Jews and Arabs." Arabs make up roughly 20 per cent of Israel's population. Most Arabs are Muslim. Jews constitute around 75 per cent of Israel's population.

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