EXCERPT: Israel’s government is examining a proposal to shift the weekend to the western Saturday and Sunday, a step that may benefit financial markets and retail and leisure companies.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week appointed Eugene Kandel, head of the National Economic Council, to look into the implications of changing the weekend from Friday and Saturday. The proposal would make Friday a half-day of work. Many in Israel use Friday to prepare for the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown. Working and traveling is forbidden on the Sabbath according to Jewish law and most stores and many restaurants are closed for the Sabbath.
“The main creator of jobs in Israel today is not the manufacturing sector but trade and services,” said Uriel Lynn, president of the Israeli Chambers of Commerce. “If Sunday is a full holiday when people can go out with their families to shop and enjoy themselves, it will create more jobs in trade and services.”