Sundays off proposal advances with PM's support

Political truce between Netanyahu, Shalom gives new life to proposal to make Sunday a day off from work.

Silvan Shalom and Netanyahu 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Silvan Shalom and Netanyahu 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has given his tacit approval to test Vice Premier Silvan Shalom’s proposal to make Sunday a day off from work and school, sources close to Shalom confirmed Wednesday.
Shalom has been pushing his proposal for a shorter work week for years, but it appeared until recently that a Netanyahu-appointed committee would block the effort. A political truce between Netanyahu and Shalom over the past month has given the proposal new life.
The prime minister and Shalom discussed the idea at a September 2 meeting. Their staffs have continued deliberations since then and have made progress.
Representatives of the committee, headed by National Economic Council chairman Prof. Eugene Kandel, discussed ways of testing the initiative with Shalom’s advisers Wednesday and are due to meet again as early as Thursday.
One possibility is to give a day off on a Sunday once a month. But Shalom’s associates said such a pilot project was just one way of testing the initiative and implementing it in stages.
Such tests and stages are seen as key to obtaining the approval of economic organizations and bodies that oppose shortening the work week.
A source close to Kandel said the committee would publish its findings immediately after the end of the Jewish holidays next month. He said Netanyahu would not give his opinion on the issue until he studied the findings.
“I am happy about any progress toward implementing my initiative for a longer weekend on Saturdays and Sundays in Israel,” Shalom said. “This is another step that will eventually enable fully implementing the proposal.”