Tel Aviv beach_521.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
A committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu recently announced a
proposal that would give Israeli workers Sundays off while lengthening Friday’s
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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.
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.
people were indifferent to the proposal, others objected
“It’s not right. Sunday is Shabbat for Christians, and
we’re not Christians. It shouldn’t apply here,” said Beit Shemesh resident Ezra
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
But others agreed with the idea of an extra day’s
“It would be absolutely fine as long as public offices and
stores stayed open,” said Elisheva Pitus from Jerusalem.
from Sderot expressed optimism about having another day off.
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
“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
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.