silvan shalom 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Ministers, MKs, artists and athletes gathered to show their support for a
two-day weekend, at an event hosted by Vice Premier Silvan Shalom at his office
in Tel Aviv on Thursday.
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The initiative would “put the citizen in the
center,” and once it is implemented, “we won’t understand how we didn’t do this
earlier,” the Likud’s Shalom quipped.
“Switching to a long weekend is a
bipartisan move that includes all sectors in Israel,” he said.
the time to change our way of thinking, and work on our civilian agenda,” Shalom
said. “In recent days, we see authentic, true protests rising from the middle
It’s clear to everyone that we need to change our priorities and
invest more in health, education, housing and welfare.”
More than 100
public figures, including Science Minister Daniel Herschkowitz (Habayit
Hayehudi), Tourism Minister Stas Meseznikov (Israel Beiteinu) and
Ministerwithout- Portfolio Yossi Peled (Likud), attended the conference in favor
of Shalom’s initiative to make Sunday a day off.
Coalition chairman MK
Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), an active supporter of the two-day weekend, said that “in
the next decade, the Shabbat-observant population will grow, and as a result,
the amount of commerce [on Saturdays] will go down. If we do not switch to a
Saturday-Sunday weekend, the economy will collapse.”
“The change will
happen – the question is if we will lead the change or if we will let the change
lead us,” Elkin said.
Meseznikov said that Israel Beiteinu and its
chairman, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, would back legislation to make
Sundays a day off. MK Zevulun Orlev (Habayit Hayehudi) plans to form a Knesset
caucus to support the initiative, and MK Ghaleb Majadele (Labor) announced that
he would promote long weekends to Israeli-Arabs.
Uriel Lynn, president of
the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, said that a long weekend would
increase business owners’ income and help the economy as a whole.
Football Association chairman Avi Luzon said he and Maccabi Tel Aviv Basketball
chairman Shimon Mizrahi back the initiative, which would “allow religious fans
to take part in our sporting events.”
Polls show that 73 percent of
Israelis favor an extended weekend and a longer workday during the
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced
that a committee headed by Economics Council chief Eugene Kandel would issue
recommendations on the subject before the Knesset’s summer recess ends in
Elkin has said, however, that there may enough parties that
support the bill for it to pass even if Netanyahu opposes it.Gil Hoffman
contributed to this report.