Two cops hurt in clashes with ultra-Orthodox in Jerusalem
By Yair Ettinger • Ha'aretz
Thousands of ultra-Orthodox demonstrators gathered on Sunday evening at an industrial zone in Jerusalem where Intel has its compound, to protest the company's decision to stay open on the Sabbath.
As their protests picked up speed over the course of the evening, the demonstrators began throwing rocks at police officers, wounding two. Two protesters were arrested in the wake of the clashes.
"We hate desecrators of the Sabbath and will continue to fight them," Rabbi Yitzhak Tuvia Weiss, the leader of the Haredi sector said to the protesters.
Although he called on the protesters to break up their protests quietly, the young ultra-Orthodox continued in the thousands to demonstrate near the Golda Meir square in the city center.
After several Haredi protests in November against the computer company, Intel agreed to stop employing Jews for its Saturday shifts at the Jerusalem plant. The rabbis did not accept the offer, however, and vowed to continue to struggle against the company.
Ultra-Orthodox protests over the past few months have subjected police to verbal and physical violence, which was said to represent a transgression of limitations set last summer by Rabbi Weiss, after officers warned him they may not be able to control their men if they continue to be subjected to spits and taunts.
Haredi rabbis have warned not to physically assault police and particularly not to spit at them.
Here's Ynet's report:
2 policemen injured in haredim protest
Decision by Eda Haredit to start protesting against Intel's Jerusalem facility on weekdays implemented for first time. 'The fast ends so we come to unwind, see some mess,' one protestor says
Ronen Medzini • Ynet
Fight for Shabbat resumed, on a Sunday. Some 1000 ultra-Orthodox protestors gathered Sunday evening near the industrial area in Jerusalem under heavy security. They prayed against Shabbat desecration, which according to them is caused by the operation of the Intel plant on weekends.
Two police officers were injured during the rally, one from a firecracker and the other from a stone hurled towards his direction.
The demonstration was moved to Sunday pursuant to a decision reached by the Eda Haredit to start protesting on weekdays instead of on Shabbat. The implementation of the decision was postponed for several weeks due to weather conditions and the Hanukkah holiday.
Shmulik, a haredi protestor told Ynet of the reason for the demonstration. "We came to protest against the desecration of Shabbat, we were here on Saturdays too. There is no winning side in war, there are those who lose more and those who lose less, but both parties lose.
"Barkat wants the city to be for young people, these protests cause just the opposite, they damage tourism and therefore the seculars are the losers."
Yohanan, another protestor spoke of a sense of "secular coercion."
"Violating Shabbat is an offense to the haredim's most precious thing. You punch the haredi public in the face and it hurts. They don't give a damn about us, we have no right to say what grieves us. It a trend by a whole system, they want to show at any cost that the haredim have no power.
"They look at us and say 'parasites, go to the army' but we have civil rights in this country. We are not being allowed to express our opinions. I feel humiliated that I am not allowed to express my pain," he said.
'Youngsters are bored'
A substantial part of protestors came for the atmosphere. "Several hours ago the fast ended (the fast of the Tenth of Tevet) so we came here to unwind, to see some mess. Most youngsters here are bored. Of course Shabbat comes first, Shabbat desecration does not dignify Jerusalem or the State of Israel," one protestor said.
In recent months members of the ultra-Orthodox community demonstrated near the Intel plant most every Saturday. They hurled stones at police officers and civilian vehicles, attacked reporters and called officers "Nazis."
Sources at Intel and the Jerusalem Municipality claim that the company has been active in the city for 24 years and its operation does not violate the status quo.