Two days after thousands of haredim rioted in central Jerusalem over the opening of the municipal parking lot on Saturdays, no headway has been made to end the dispute, officials said Monday. The clash over the parking lot, which is being operated on Saturdays by a non-Jew in keeping with Jewish religious law, is emerging as the first major headache for Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat in how to accommodate the different sectors that make up the city. The secular mayor, who was taken by surprise by the violence, thought he had things all taken care of after reaching an accord with his haredi partners in his wall-to-wall city hall coalition to open the Kikar Safra parking lot to accomodate weekend visitors to the capital, instead of a private lot opposite the Old City walls which police had originally favored but which his haredi partners had opposed. But as Barkat has learned the hard way, it appears that the agreement he reached with his haredi partners was woefully insufficient as he did not take into account the "haredi street," whose feelings on the issue were immediately stirred up by the anti-Zionist Eda Haredit sect. The fringe organization saw an issue which it could use to lambaste Barkat - who had kept a pre-election pledge to get the haredim into his coalition - and grasped at it, leaving the mayor's accord with his haredi parners virtually meaningless, and highlighting the mayor's political naivete. "We are not satisfied with the opening of the parking lot, but we are not upset with the mayor since it was the police who said the lots should be opened," said Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus of the United Torah Judaism Party on Monday. He said the onus was on police to explain their case to the Eda Haredit. Barkat has said that he is determined to keep the lot open since it does not desecrate Shabbat and serves an urgent need. Officials agreed that without some agreement, more violent protests were likely. But with both sides failing to budge, it appeared more violent demonstrations were in the offing.

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