Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given his tacit approval to test Vice
Premier Silvan Shalom’s proposal to make Sunday a day off from work and school,
sources close to Shalom confirmed Wednesday.
Shalom has been pushing his
proposal for a shorter work week for years, but it appeared until recently that
a Netanyahu-appointed committee would block the effort. A political truce between
Netanyahu and Shalom over the past month has given the proposal new
The prime minister and Shalom discussed the idea at a September 2
meeting. Their staffs have continued deliberations since then and have made
Representatives of the committee, headed by National Economic
Council chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel, discussed ways of testing the initiative
with Shalom’s advisers Wednesday and are due to meet again as early as
One possibility is to give a day off on a Sunday once a month.
But Shalom’s associates said such a pilot project was just one way of testing
the initiative and implementing it in stages.
Such tests and stages are
seen as key to obtaining the approval of economic organizations and bodies that
oppose shortening the work week.
A source close to Kandel said the
committee would publish its findings immediately after the end of the Jewish
holidays next month. He said Netanyahu would not give his opinion on the issue
until he studied the findings.
“I am happy about any progress toward
implementing my initiative for a longer weekend on Saturdays and Sundays in
Israel,” Shalom said. “This is another step that will eventually enable fully
implementing the proposal.”