(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Did former interior minister Silvan Shalom’s proposal to institute a long weekend in Israel with a day off on Sundays die when he quit after sexual misconduct allegations last month? Hours ahead of Shalom’s December 20 resignation, the cabinet appointed a committee of ministerial director-generals to deal with the matter led by the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, Eli Groner.
The cabinet gave the panel 180 days to deal with the complex issue of commerce on Shabbat, and whether Israel should have longer weekends or additional days off from work around holidays.
Groner said that adding a couple of long weekends a year was a much more likely scenario than instituting Sundays off every weekend. He said the Bank of Israel, Education Ministry and the National Economic Council opposed the proposed long weekend.
“These are very delicate issues that touch the realms of matters of religion and state and have a significant economic impact,” Groner said.
Bayit Yehudi and Likud MKs support Shalom’s proposal to extend the weekend and work more hours during the week. But MKs in Kulanu oppose the idea.
Kulanu faction chairman Roy Folkman said it was “unrealistic” to have a day off from work every Sunday.
He said it would be easier to make Friday a day off.
“The only realistic way we can have a long weekend is if we get off Fridays,” Folkman said. “There already are schools that give days off on Fridays. An agreement can be reached with the teachers so there will be fewer vacation days in which parents are not off from work.”