Daily Israel Report

MKs Push to Have Sundays Off - Once a Month

Deal reached in ongoing initiative to give Israelis more time off; major coalition parties allegedly respond well to the move.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 2/21/2014, 1:43 AM

Sundays off once a month? (illustrative)
Sundays off once a month? (illustrative)
Thinkstock

MKs Silvan Shalom (Likud), Naftali Bennett (Jewish Home), and Rabbi Shai Piron (Yesh Atid) have reached an agreement in the ongoing initiative to introduce Sunday as a day off from work and school, according to Channel 10

The catch: free Sundays would only be once per month. 

The compromise is the result of a series of meetings between the MKs and the chairman of the National Economic Council, Eugene Kandel. The idea to introduce a gradual, partial change is an interim solution, according to the report,  which balances the needs of families with the needs of the Israeli economy.  

If the deal is implemented, one long weekend will be enacted per month during the school year - but not during summer vacation months and the High Holiday season. In turn, school days will be implemented on dates currently given as "extra" days during the school year, e.g. Lag Ba'omer or extra days off before Passover. 

Shalom has spearheaded the initiative for three years, with some success; the initiative allegedly has been well-received by Likud, Jewish Home, and Yesh Atid - among the three biggest coalition parties. The announcement, according to Channel 10, makes the proposal more likely to be implemented in practice. 

Bennett’s party, Jewish Home, has expressed support for including Sunday in the weekend. While Friday is often used for Sabbath preparations, Jewish Home MKs have argued that making Sunday the second weekend day would make Israelis more likely to keep the Sabbath.

Many Israelis currently use the Sabbath to do their shopping and other tasks that violate the holiness of the Sabbath, Jewish Home MK Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan has argued.

Redefining the weekend to include Sunday rather than Friday would also impact non-Jewish Israelis. Opponents of the plan say it would be bad for Israel’s large Muslim minority, which celebrates Friday as the day of rest.