Small Israeli Manufacturers Oppose Election Day Holiday

Cost of being forced to close down for the day is too high, say business reps.

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With elections scheduled for Tuesday, the Association of Craft and Industry in Israel is calling for the abolition of the Election Day work holiday, saying it will cost small industrial businesses at least NIS 100 million. 

According to a survey conducted by the association, 84 percent of small and medium-sized manufacturing business owners object to Election Day being a day of rest.

"A day of rest is unnecessary and is bad for Israeli industry," said association president Yehuda Elhadif. "Western countries like Britain and Holland maintain glorious democracy without election days being holidays."

Elhadif explained that while Election Day benefits retailers and service providers by encouraging spending on shopping and entertainment, it forces industrial firms to either shut down or pay workers double their daily wages to keep them on the job.

"This is an unnecessary loss of productivity and is damaging to the entire Israeli economy, particularly light industrial enterprises that are currently struggling to survive increasing economic slowdown and global uncertainty."

Elhadif called for the government to cancel the day of rest and replace it with a short paid break from work.

The survey also found 61 percent of manufacturing business owners claim the holiday will delay orders and 59 percent complain about a loss of output. Sixty percent of owners say democratic principles and the right to vote aren't properly balanced with economic and business interests.

Owners say they can't afford to shut down production or pay workers double to come to work.Credit: AP