Shalom warns: Last chance for ‘Sundays off’ proposal

Committee appointed by PM to announce decision right after holidays; deadline has already been pushed twice.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
September 3, 2012 03:43
1 minute read.
Silvan Shalom

silvan shalom 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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A committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to consider adopting a five-day work-week will hold a meeting Monday deemed crucial by supporters of the initiative led by Vice Premier Silvan Shalom.

The committee, headed by National Economic Council chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel, will meet with key associations, organizations and business leaders with whom he has been consulting about how best to add leisure time to the calendar.

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A source close to Kandel said the committee would publish its findings immediately after the Jewish holidays end next month. But the deadline has already been pushed off twice.

The alternatives being considered include 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 Hol Hamoed Succot days off for workers as they already are for schoolchildren.

“We are in a hurry to push our agenda of Sundays off before the Kandel Committee publishes its recommendations soon,” Shalom said in a meeting with reporters and editors from The Jerusalem Post Sunday. “I think we can persuade him to adopt the idea because he told me in the past that he supports it and that anyone who had lived abroad would be in favor of it.”

Kandel has expressed reservations about the proposal because of the opposition of the IDF and key Finance Ministry officials. But Netanyahu’s point of view could sway him.

Shalom said he received the impression that “Netanyahu is 100 percent behind the proposal” and that he “wants to support it in his heart,” leaving open the possibility that political considerations could sway him otherwise.



He said Prime Minister’s Office director- general Harel Locker and his predecessor Eyal Gabai both back the proposal.

Dismissing the concerns of the IDF and the Finance Ministry, Shalom said the military complained when it was forced to stop working Fridays but it adjusted and that if the Treasury had its way no private colleges would have opened here and the number of students would not have risen from 100,000 to 300,000.

“Eventually, looking back we will all wonder how we lived here without having Sundays off,” Shalom said confidently.

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