Bill Proposing Sundays Off for Israelis Blocked by Opposition From Labor Federation

Both the government plan and alternative Histadrut plan are scaled-down version of old proposal aimed at creating two-day weekend all year round

Patrons sit at a cafe in Tel Aviv, June 5, 2016.
Patrons sit at a cafe in Tel Aviv, June 5, 2016. David Bachar

Legislation being prepared by Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen to give Israelis between four and six Sundays off every year is deadlocked after encountering opposition from the Histadrut labor federation.

Cohen prepared detailed legislation after the plan passed a preliminary reading in the Knesset and won the backing of the Manufacturers Association trade group.

Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn had promised during union elections this spring to reduce the official work week by one hour, to 42 hours, to which the Manufacturers Association also agreed. But neither initiative is advancing because the ministry opposes the shorter work week and the union opposes the Sundays-off plan, ministry officials said.

Uriel Lin, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, supports the Sundays-off alternative, which would create extra shopping days other than on Shabbat, when stores are for the most part closed.

Both alternatives are a scaled-down version of a proposal by former minister Silvan Shalom for a two-day weekend all-year round. That was cut to 12 Sundays a year and finally to four-to-six under pressure from the Manufacturers Association.