Clock Change Revives Time Debate

Israelis set their clocks back one hour at midnight Saturday, reverting to Standard Time while the country was still sweltering under unusually warm days.

The timing of the change from summer to winter time at a point when the country would normally expect at least a month more of summer weather has once again heightened tension between the secular majority and the Orthodox minority.

The Orthodox, who represent an estimated 10 percent of the population, demanded the early changeover to facilitate the recitation of pre-Rosh Hashanah selichot prayers before dawn each day.

A large majority of Israeli Jews, as illustrated by person-in-the-street interviews in the media, prefer the continuation of summer time for at least another month, to coincide with the United States and most of the rest of the world, and to provide for reduced electricity costs and more daylight hours for sport and recreation.

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