Ex-Finance Minister Pushing Five-Day Work Week in Israel

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minister-silvan-shalomIsraeli Cabinet Minister Silvan Shalom, who has headed both the Finance and Foreign Ministries, is promoting an official 5-day workweek; Sundays will be off.

The proposal will require a change in the Work and Rest Hours Law, which currently calls for workdays of no longer than 8 hours (not including breaks) and a workweek of no longer than 45 hours. Shalom’s idea is to give Sundays off, and add a half-hour of work to each day Monday through Friday. Work will end at 2 P.M.on Friday afternoon during the summer, and an hour earlier during the winter.
The Sabbath and Sunday will both be deemed official days of rest.

It has been reported that Interior Minister Eli Yishai of the Sephardic-hareidi-religious camp has expressed interest in the idea, because it would release public pressure to keep stores open on the Sabbath and would thus decrease Sabbath desecration.

Shalom, who is currently Vice Prime Minister, is still in the planning stages regarding meetings with the head of the national Histadrut Labor Union, representatives of the employers, and other market elements. He is optimistic, however: “A long Saturday-Sunday weekend will change the country from one extreme to the other,” he says. “It could bring about calm; the feeling of freedom will enable people to come to work on Monday more calmly and with more motivation. In addition, by adding hours to the day, there will be more production… The banking and economic systems will be more synchronized with the world.”

A change in the work week will also bring about changes in the educational system – longer school days, with lunch programs, and no Sunday classes.

{Arutz Shevah/Matzav.com}


  1. So sad … going after goyishe ways like this. It seems it will just make shabbos part of the weekend, taking away from the kedusha bestowed by so many yidden being on something of a shabbos schedule. I don’t see how this would do anything but take away from shabbos and encourage more mechalel shabos. After all, they could just take Sunday off. Seriously, who will close for 2 days?

  2. Many many years ago a similar proposal was thought of by someone who felt that doing so would greatly reduce chillul Shabbos particularly by those attending soccer games. With Sunday being an “off” day the matches could be set for Sunday and avoid the Shabbos scheduling with the resultant demonstration etc.
    This along with the other “benefits” would be a tremendous improvement for the Yidden in EY.

  3. Having lived in EY, I applaud this as a rare outbreak of common sense. With a six-day work-week, when are you going to do your laundry, buy your groceries, visit your relatives in other towns, etc.? I heard that there was a suggestion of giving off Rosh Chodesh, but that wouldn’t have been often enough.
    Good for Mr. Shalom!

  4. I think Friday makes much more sense for a Jewish society. First, it isn’t chasing after the goyishe calendar. Second, many need part of Friday to prepare for Shabbos anyway; it would make their lives easier. Friday can be everyone’s “Amiercan Saturday” and then Shabbos isn’t such a temptation to do melacha or whatever. I don’t see the down-side of it being Islamic, unless you are saying that is also goyish. Maybe. Probably the whole idea of this day-off is goyishe. We have a Jewish way of Shabbos, THE day of rest, and then 6 regular days, do with them what you may.


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