A committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to consider adopting
a five-day work-week will hold a meeting Monday deemed crucial by supporters of
the initiative led by Vice Premier Silvan Shalom.
The committee, headed
by National Economic Council chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel, will meet with
key associations, organizations and business leaders with whom he has been
consulting about how best to add leisure time to the calendar.
close to Kandel said the committee would publish its findings immediately after
the Jewish holidays end next month. But the deadline has already been pushed off
The alternatives being considered include giving workers an
additional week of vacation time to use whenever they want, adopting a half-day
of work on Tuesday or Thursday, making dates of national significance like
Jerusalem Day and Remembrance Day days off, and making Hanukka or Hol Hamoed
Succot days off for workers as they already are for schoolchildren.
are in a hurry to push our agenda of Sundays off before the Kandel Committee
publishes its recommendations soon,” Shalom said in a meeting with reporters and
editors from The Jerusalem Post Sunday. “I think we can persuade him to adopt
the idea because he told me in the past that he supports it and that anyone who
had lived abroad would be in favor of it.”
Kandel has expressed
reservations about the proposal because of the opposition of the IDF and key
Finance Ministry officials. But Netanyahu’s point of view could sway
Shalom said he received the impression that “Netanyahu is 100
percent behind the proposal” and that he “wants to support it in his heart,”
leaving open the possibility that political considerations could sway him
He said Prime Minister’s Office director- general Harel Locker
and his predecessor Eyal Gabai both back the proposal.
concerns of the IDF and the Finance Ministry, Shalom said the military
complained when it was forced to stop working Fridays but it adjusted and that
if the Treasury had its way no private colleges would have opened here and the
number of students would not have risen from 100,000 to
“Eventually, looking back we will all wonder how we lived here
without having Sundays off,” Shalom said confidently.