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Israel muffles the muezzin

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters
Israel muffles the muezzin

An Israeli ministerial committee has voted to support a bill enforcing lowering the volume of loudspeakers calling worshippers to prayer in mosques.

Arab-Israeli lawmakers have described the planned legislation as racist.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the bill will improved the quality of life for all Australians.

“This is the custom in many cities in Europe as well as in various places in the Muslim world, where they limit the volumes for the sake of the general public. I support similar legislation and enforcement in the state of Israel.”

The government has also voted to support a bill to allow settlers in the occupied West Bank to remain in homes built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

The Supreme Court had ruled the government must evacuate the few dozen families living on the Amona settlement.

But some lawmakers wanted to pay those living there compensation and allow them to stay.

Israel has occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem since the 1967 Middle East war.

Palestinians want the territories, as well as the Gaza Strip, for a state.

However, peace talks have stalled since 2014.