silvan shalom 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Vice Premier Silvan Shalom will hold several key meetings this week to try to
build a coalition of movers and shakers to advance his proposal to extend the
weekend to Sunday.
RELATED:Will Sunday become part of the Israeli weekend?
Shalom has already discussed the issue with Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Bank of Israel Gov. Stanley Fischer, Histadrut
labor federation chief Ofer Eini and Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe
He has a longer meeting set up this week with Eini, as well as
with Manufacturers Association president Shraga Brosh, Federation of Israeli
Chambers of Commerce president Uriel Lynn, and a long list of politicians led by
Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Shalom Simhon, who is key because his
ministry would have to advance the idea.
Shalom revealed that a clause in
the coalition agreement requiring the formation of a task force on extending the
weekend had never been implemented. An official in the Prime Minister’s Office
said last week that the task force had met once soon after the government was
formed, but Shalom found that it still hadn’t been formed and its members hadn’t
“We don’t have a real weekend,” he complained. “On Fridays,
the kids are at school and the stores close at 2. We don’t have a day when we
can rest, play and shop. It would be totally different when we have Sunday as a
According to the plan, the work week would be extended on
Monday through Thursday by half an hour, and people would work on Friday until 1
or 2, depending on the starting time of Shabbat. Children would go to school on
Monday through Friday for an extra hour to make up for the lack of school on
Sundays, which could allow women to work longer hours and have an easier time
advancing to managerial positions.
Shalom gave his vision of soccer games
being moved to Sundays, as well as children’s theater, and tours of the North
and South, which his Negev and Galilee Development Ministry advances.
longer weekend would make workers more energized and productive, and it would
help businesses to coordinate the work week with global markets, he
“Having Sundays off is not only for Christian countries,” Shalom
said, rattling off a long list of Muslim countries and non-Christian countries
in Asia that have adopted it. “They decided to have Sunday off because they
believe it will benefit them in the global world.”
When asked what he
thought his chances of success were, Shalom said he thought they were good, but
that it would not be easy. He expressed hope that Netanyahu would adopt the
“I’ve been talking about it for years,” Shalom said. “Whenever I
was asked what I would do first if I were ever elected prime minister, I would
always say, extend the weekend.”