silvan shalom 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to officially appoint a committee that
he said would examine whether Israel should adopt a five-day work week, a source
in the Prime Minister’s Office revealed to The Jerusalem Post
Netanyahu announced the formation of the committee with great
fanfare on July 4.
He said at the time that the committee, headed by
National Economic Council head Prof. Eugene Kandel, would release its findings
when the Knesset returns from its summer recess October 30.
the Prime Minister’s Office said Kandel had begun his work and would complete it
on time. But when asked why people who had been told they were on the committee
had not been invited to a single meeting, a source in Netanyahu’s office said
the committee had not been officially appointed, and its makeup would be
announced “today or tomorrow.” The source blamed the delay on the housing
protests, the appointment of Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg’s committee on the housing
crisis, and other recent economic developments.
Vice Premier Silvan
Shalom, who is leading the effort to initiate a five-day work week, with Sundays
off, declined to criticize Netanyahu for the delay.
But Shalom warned
that if Kandel’s committee did not finish its work by the time the Knesset
recess ended, he would consider advancing the idea on his own in the parliament,
where coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin believes he can obtain a majority for the
bill he has proposed on the matter.
“I will continue to advance my
initiative for a long weekend with Saturdays and Sundays off for the good of
Israel’s society and economy,” Shalom said.
Shalom is expected to be on
the committee along with other ministers and professionals from various
ministries connected to the matter.
When it is appointed, the committee
is expected to consider Shalom’s proposal as well as one by Finance Minister
Yuval Steinitz to eliminate the current half-day of work on Fridays, and
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar’s preference to maintain the status
“There are good arguments on all sides of the issue,” Netanyahu told
the Likud faction when he announced the formation of the committee, declaring
neutrality until it issues its findings.
Likud officials speculated at
the time that Netanyahu might be unlikely to support giving Sundays off, because
the idea is being promoted by Shalom, who is his Likud rival.