PM advised to initiate long weekends for holidays

Special committee appointed by Prime Minister Netanyahu currently against giving any Sundays off, but still under discussion.

April 22, 2013 03:29
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, January 27, 2013.

Netanyahu at cabinet meeting 370. (photo credit: Emil Salman/Haaretz, poo)


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A committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to consider adopting a five-day work week decided to recommend against making Sunday a day off, a source in the Prime Minister’s Office confirmed over the weekend.

Netanyahu appointed the committee on July 4, 2011, following pressure from then-vice premier Silvan Shalom, the main political patron of the initiative. The committee, headed by National Economic Council head Prof. Eugene Kandel, was tasked with making recommendations to Netanyahu by March 2012, but its deadline was repeatedly postponed.

The committee consulted with key associations, organizations and business leaders about how best to add leisure time to the calendar. Besides giving Sundays off, the committee considered 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 the intermediate days of Succot days off for workers – as they already are for schoolchildren.

The Jerusalem Post’s Hebrew sister newspaper Sof Hashavua reported exclusively on Friday that the committee decided to recommend initiating a number of annual bank holidays, resulting in long weekends, such as the United States does with Labor Day, Memorial Day and Presidents Day.

According to the proposal, such bank holidays would be attempted in an experimental pilot program to determine their impact.

“The economy is not ready yet for every Sunday to not be a work day,” a source familiar with the Kandel Committee’s report said.

“Several alternative options were presented to the prime minister, who will ultimately make the decision.”

Both Shalom and Economy Minister Naftali Bennett have vowed to fight for the initiation of a five-day work week from Monday to Friday.

Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi initially demanded that giving Sundays off be included in the coalition agreement, but the party later backed off and it was not included.

“Naftali has not given up on this issue, but there are other issues that are more urgent, especially ahead of the passage of the budget,” a source close to Bennett said.

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