More on Milton Friedman and Israel:

Building on Ilya's last post, I remember reading a funny story about a visit by Milton Friedman to Israel in the 1970s, which may or may not be aprochryphal. To understand the story, you need the following background information: First, Israel traditionally has had a five and a half day workweek. Second, in the 1970s many Israelis worked for state-owned enterprises, which, due to a combination of stifling labor union rules imposed by the hegemonic Histadrut labor federation and typical bureaucratic ineptitude and slothfulness, didn't pay very well, but required very little effort from employees (like the old Soviet joke: we pretend to work, they pretend to pay us).

According to the story (to the best of my recollection), Friedman, in Israel, is talking to a large group of business, labor, and political leaders. One of the business leaders gets up and asks, "Professor Friedman, what do you think of the idea of following the lead of the United States, and having our employees work five days a week?" Friedman responds, "I think that's much too drastic a step and will upset labor-management relations! Instead, why don't you start by getting your employees to work one day a week, and then, over time, ratchet it up to two, then three; eventually, over many years, maybe you can get them to work five days a week!"