The National Religious Party years ago pushed a bill that would give Israelis a day off monthly, working its plan around rosh chodesh. It was defeated. As a result, the only day off in Israel is Shabbos and many feel that the result is increased chilul Shabbos.
The late MK Rabbi Meir Kahane HY”D was among those who felt Israeli should have Sundays off as is the case in the USA. He proposed moving the national sport, soccer; to Sundays, and this would result in hundreds of thousands of Sephardim opting to go to shul instead of soccer matches. This too did not occur. These efforts were premised on the fact that the half day off on erev Shabbos would not be forfeited, for doing so would also increase chilul Shabbos chas v’sholom.
This time around Minister (Likud) Silvan Shalom may has sufficient support for his plan, to declare Sunday a day of rest and Friday would become a regular work day. Undoubtedly this will be met by fierce chareidi objections, fearing the day off would be at the expense of chilul Shabbos for those unable to get out of work and home in time for Shabbos.
Shalom will on Sunday, 22 Tammuz 5773 convene a meeting with representatives of the Prime Minister’s Office, economic experts, officials connected to Galil and Negev development and others as he seeks to advance his bill. Shalom wishes to have an “American weekend” in Israel instead of the current situation in which many are off on Fridays and those who work end after a half day.
Shalom and supporters of the plan feel this will give residents “a real weekend off”. Shalom believes the move would result in sharp increase in internal tourism as Israelis would be able to go away for a weekend. He is proposing a trial run, perhaps four Sundays over a period of months as a trial to ascertain the feasibility of the changeover.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)