‘Sundays off’ proposal excites some, dismays others

The findings of the Netanyahu-appointed committee will be released in October, when the Knesset returns from its summer recess.

July 7, 2011 01:19
2 minute read.
A Tel Aviv beach.

Tel Aviv beach_521. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)


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A committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently announced a proposal that would give Israeli workers Sundays off while lengthening Friday’s workday.

According to the proposal, workers would remain at their jobs for a few more hours on Fridays, and work an extra half-hour every other day to compensate for Sundays.

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In addition to numerous responses from government officials, the proposal – which would affect more than seven and a half million people – spurred an array of responses from ordinary Israelis, whose concerns ranged from the religious to the financial to the logistical.

While some people were indifferent to the proposal, others objected wholeheartedly.

“It’s not right. Sunday is Shabbat for Christians, and we’re not Christians. It shouldn’t apply here,” said Beit Shemesh resident Ezra Cohen.

Asher Rokach agreed. “Almost everybody in Israel works by the hour. If we’re not going to work on Sundays... [people will make] less money.” Added up, it’s a lot of money people would be losing, added Rokach, who hails from Jerusalem.

But others agreed with the idea of an extra day’s vacation.

“It would be absolutely fine as long as public offices and stores stayed open,” said Elisheva Pitus from Jerusalem.

Seymour Abutbul from Sderot expressed optimism about having another day off.

”Why not? It’s great, another free day. There are people who can’t travel on Shabbat, so give them Sunday,” he said. And Jerusalem resident Avior Amrani pointed out that people work illegally on Shabbat to meet their financial needs. Having Sunday as a day off would dissuade them from doing so, he said.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s Jews or non-Jews,” said Amrani. He added that having Sunday as a work day would improve the quality of the entire population, and said the law “wants to emphasize this for the traditional/religious sector.”

Aharon Taus from Jerusalem saw the proposal from a different point of view. According to him, the adoption of secular laws was turning Israel into a Christian country.

“Sunday is holy for the Christian world, for another world,” he declared, saying that having Saturday and half of Friday off was enough.

“I think [the proposal] is a totally negative idea,” he said.

The findings of the Netanyahu-appointed committee will be released in October, when the Knesset returns from its summer recess, and the prime minister will make a decision on the “Sundays off” proposal shortly after examining them.

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