A Legal Victory against Noise Pollution in Israel

- Frank J. Leavitt, Ph.D.

Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer Sheva, Israel

Eubios Ethics Institute Newsletter 4 (November, 1994) 75-76.

In Israel today, Jews who a generation ago would have been taking every spare moment to study Bible, Jewish Ethics (halacha) and Jewish philosophy, are now addicted to constant radio and television. Particularly annoying are the buses where even those who want to think or study are forces to hear the unending chatter of the radio loudspeakers.

Noise pollution suits are difficult to win all over the world. But in what may be an important precedent on 1st September 1994 I won a suit against "Egged", the Israeli national bus cooperative. On a trip from Kiriat Araba to Jerusalem in January, June and I had asked the driver to turn down the radio. He refused to do so and we had to listen to the noise all the way. I sued for the cost of the tickets, plus court costs, because we did not receive the "calm" ride which the company advertizes.

Judge Moshe Ravid, a circuit judge sitting in the municipal court in Kiriat Araba awarded me my claim (about 17 dollars) basing his judgment on regulation 422 of the Transportation Code, which establishes that if just one passenger asks that the radio be turned off, then even if everyone else wants to hear it, the driver has to turn it off or down to the point that that passenger will not hear it.

I'll be happy to send an English translation of the court proceedings and Judge Ravid's decision to anyone who requests.

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