Enraged Jerusalem residents showed up this morning outside of Mayor Nir Barkat’s home. They played a recorded Islamic call to prayer on a loudspeaker in order to demonstrate the noise that they claim to suffer from in Pisgat Ze’ev and several other neighborhoods. Prior to the protest, Barkat announced that the city would be enforcing a program to reduce noise.

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This morning (Thursday), residents of Jerusalem’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood showed up outside of Mayor Nir Barkat’s home in the Israeli capital city’s Beit HaKerem neighborhood. They played a recorded Islamic call to prayer on a loudspeaker in order to demonstrate to Barkat how they are woken up each morning.

Numerous residents throughout Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, including Gilo, the French Hill, Pisgat Ze’ev and many more have been complaining for years that the city does not enforce noise regulation and has not attempted to meet with local authorities within Arab neighborhoods in order to find a solution. Furthermore, in certain areas, Arab and Jewish residents agreed upon mutually beneficial solutions, such as positioning smaller loudspeakers in Arab neighborhoods that would moderate the noise that reaches the Jewish neighborhoods from the minarets. However, the process was halted and the municipality would not fund it.

Yesterday evening, after learning of the planned demonstration and in light of harsh criticism, Barkat released a statement in which he instructed his office director to formulate a plan of action in cooperation with the Israel Police that would enforce noise regulations upon the Islamic calls to prayer.

This morning’s protest

This morning’s protest Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

“There is a long-standing failure regarding noise regulations,” Bareket wrote. “Many mosques position noise amplifiers and loudspeaker systems without any inspections or consideration. The volume of these systems and the hours they are operated deviate from the law. They actively cause noise nuisances that disturb many nearby residents and harm their quality of life.”