Beyond the Cusp

June 15, 2014

Israel and the Work-Week Length

There have been discussions and protestations coming from virtually every direction, party, religious orientation, and position on whether to have the government officially establish Sunday as an additional day considered as the weekend. For those who support such a move, let me say that much of the world would likely sympathize with your views except the world rarely sympathizes with anything Israeli. Still, taking this idea to the Knesset where every extreme view which might protest such an idea calling it radical, unreligious, against the holy Sabbath, anti-business, capitalistic, too Christian and any other detracting and degrading reference they can possibly invent is a recipe for failure at best. The best way to go forward with such an idea would be to approach employers, particularly manufacturing or those which operate twenty four hours, seven days a week such as hospitals, hotels and service industries and explain the advantages to them especially how it would allow for greater flexibility in scheduling etcetera. What is kind of amazing is that while much of the world is either adopting or discussing a four day work-week and even a less than eight hour work-day, Israel remains with her six days shall you toil and on the seventh day you shall rest from over three thousand years ago when the rest of the world was toiling from birth until death. So, yes, the world appears to have passed you by and even raised the ante to the two-day weekend many decades ago and is already raising the ante once again with some even challenging the so-called normal eight hour work-day.


So, if the Knesset is unfriendly with more angles opposing anything new that can be imagined, and if the employers are less than enthusiastic, then were to turn. Spark the working people’s imaginations and get them on board and allow for things to take their course and slowly garner support from wherever you can find some. Talk with the union who would likely have a sympathetic ear and might even decide that a five day work-week might be the next major demand which would bring about this step into modernity that much faster. The secret is to plan big and accept small steps and treat each like a major shift because eventually the small step towards acceptance will topple the remaining opposition. Expect full forced opposition from the religious who will label your efforts as potentially sinful and countering Biblical law. Change never comes easily or quickly and even changes that appear to happen overnight, they usually have been long time working and just garnered sufficient momentum to cross the trip point into acceptability. Remember one item above all else, Israel is not just another nation among nations and her people know this as the rest of the world reminds Israel day after day. Should you succeed, you might provide others who seek social change with an alternative route to fabricate changes as often it appears that every time any group wants to introduce societal changes they immediately seek to force their idea through the Knesset. Perhaps that is the paralyzing chokepoint standing to prevent change, asking the Knesset for permission for every little alteration in society. Perhaps the place to start is with the people and allow them to drag the overly self-important politicians to follow for a change. Sometime you just have to take a bottom up approach incorporating a five day forty hour week should entice the working employees even if employers are not exactly overly taken by the idea. There is one thing that remains constant throughout the eons; change. That is one adage which can be counted on but the catch is that change seldom happens overnight no matter what people like to think. Israel will have the forty hour-five day a week work schedule and probably a lot sooner than many would say. There will be those making Aliyah who comes from places where this was the norm and some even will be arriving from places with less than an eight hour work-day or the four day work-week.


The item to remember above all else is that social change more often comes from the society and the government bends to the change only after much of the society had already made the transition. This has been the truth throughout the ages and applies to more areas of consideration than most would believe. Some of the most astonishing examples come from the ecological and anti-pollution advocates. The air and water in the United States had attained the levels demanded by the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act before Congress even began the debates on these pieces of legislation. The reason is that the people had made known their desires and demands and companies complied as best and as quickly as they could while keeping costs within affordable levels such that they did not destroy profits which would have made investors leery of accepting the plans for change. Some might remember when Coca-a-Cola came out with a huge promotional campaign with New Coke which basically bombed initially. Sufficient people demanded their old flavor Coke-a-Cola back and within weeks Coke-a-Cola had released their Classic Coke with as close as their new facilities could match taste to the original recipe. This phenomenon has a name; it’s called People Power and had only grown through the ages. Sometimes people power comes from the people who have more of a position of advantage within the society, and such times bring changes whose effects and affects are felt and seen going forward for time immemorial. Probably the best known example which has been one of the most drastic forces for change in humankind’s entire existence was a demand petitioning of the King of Britain by the numerous Barons and landowners who reminded the King that it was their knights who protected him and that their armies outnumbered his army by a significant ratio. The King recanted and they reached an agreement known as the Magna Carta, the first enacted petition of the rights of the people to be established since the receipt of the Law at Mount Sinai when Moses brought the Ten Commandments down from on high. The restriction against a King gathering great wealth or an undue share of property, flocks, horses or other valuables which the restrictions in the Old Testament place upon a King, these were the initial recognition that a monarch was, in the end, just a man and as such would have the same limitations and tendencies as any man thus had to be restricted or a monarch would take advantage of his position. Well, that is pretty much what came to be mainly because power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Only a Supreme Being seems to be capable of resisting abusing power and people are anything but supreme beings, especially when it comes to morality and self-restraint. This is also one of the reasons that making a change to the work-week will be difficult, those who make the largest profit and often are above the day-to-day minutia the common laborer or employee must perform as an employee, they will be reluctant to give away the extra profits that a shortened work-week might entail. The really odd item is that in nations where companies have extended their hours of operation and keep their stores open seven days each week have found that they do not take in as much additional money as they expend in additional costs. The only reason they continue with these extended hours is because should they close they would lose customer base to their competitors who remain open seven days a week. This insanity has actually cost some entrepreneurial concerns to no longer make profits and they have eventually restructured or gone completely out of business. This has been extremely apparent in the budget retail end and food sales of the market in the United States where there are now fewer competitors and the remaining competitors are operating on a larger scale making less profits per hour than was the norm before these stores had extended daily hours, some even open twenty-four hours per day, and all opening seven days per week. The additional income is far less than the additional operating costs yet they started a convenience and that monster they started now threatens them if they do not continue to feed the always open for your convenience concept. So, attaining a five day work-week within Israel will take time but it is possible that employers, once the first brave stores, manufacturers and other employers begin to offer such an enticement and find their profits increase, the idea will catch on so quickly that there will be no need for the Knesset to act. But expect after many, if not the vast majority, of employers opt to a five day work-week and give their employees off early on Friday and all day Saturday (Shabbat) and even an additional day on Sunday or rotating it among the employees on one other day so they are able to remain open six days each week, the Knesset will pass some call for employees to be required to work only thirty-five hours each week getting a two-day weekend and an early Friday to prepare for Shabbat or attend prayers and then take full credit for following the precedent set forth by the people and the leading employers. Isn’t it always the case that the politicians are the last to climb on board but the loudest boasters of how their revolutionary out of the box thinking and rights advancing ideas with their new laws recognizing a change which was already well-established makes them so forward thinking. Its all-right as they need to be stroked from time to time otherwise they tend to pout and feel badly. The most important thing is that desired change is the important item and who is credited is of less importance as long as the people actually receive the advances into the future which they desire, the sooner the better but better late than never.


Beyond the Cusp


Create a free website or blog at