Smaller protests expected at Intel this Shabbat

Scaled-down protests exp

intel haredi protest 248 88 ap (photo credit: AP)
intel haredi protest 248 88 ap
(photo credit: AP)
While no breakthrough has emerged from efforts to forge an agreement between hi-tech giant Intel and haredi protesters opposed to the company's operation of its Jerusalem microchip factory on the Jewish day of rest, protests in front of Intel's Har Hotzvim offices this Saturday will be much smaller in scale, according to Rabbi Yosef Rosenfeld, a member of the Council for the Protection of the Sanctity of Shabbat. Rosenfeld, whose group is one of those leading the opposition to Intel's Shabbat operations, said that "only a small number" of protesters would take part in a Saturday demonstration opposite the plant. "It won't be like last week or the week before that," Rosenfeld said. "The Eda [Haredit - another one of the groups that have organized the protests] is pushing to move the demonstrations to a weekday, so this weekend there will only be a few protesters." Furthermore, Rosenfeld said, while no agreement has been signed, negotiations are still ongoing and could result in a deal even before Saturday. The recent Shabbat unrest began two weeks ago, when haredi leaders announced that they would oppose the opening of a new microchip plant at Intel's offices in the Har Hotzvim industrial park, since the company would be employing Jewish workers on Shabbat. The first protest, which was held the following Saturday afternoon, drew a crowd of some 1500 haredim and became increasingly violent as they threw rocks at police and traded blows with journalists who were covering the event. Last week's protest was smaller in size, and markedly more docile. However, both city and Intel officials are keeping a close eye on the situation, wary that it could again spin out of control.