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Alleged violations of the Jewish Sabbath by a top international company
prompted religious protests in Jerusalem on Saturday-the biblical day
1,500 angry ultra-Orthodox Jews demonstrated at the Jerusalem factory
of computer giant Intel, to protest the electronic chip maker's
operations on the Sabbath.
Chanting the Yiddish word for
Sabbath, they charged that work is forbidden on the holy day of rest
according to the Bible and called on the company to stay closed on
Intel has operated on the Sabbath in Jerusalem for
years, so it is not clear why the protests broke out now. But there has
been a wave of religious demonstrations since a parking lot opened on
the Sabbath near an ultra-Orthodox neighborhood several months ago.
The unrest points to the deep divisions between the secular majority in Israel and the ultra-Orthodox minority.
Jerusalem Post correspondent Haviv Rettig Gur says the religious protesters do not recognize the State of Israel.
a small group and their purpose is to show their own strength against
the general society which they feel is a mockery of Jewish identity or
a mockery of what a Jewish society should be. That's their view of
Zionism," he said.
Gur says there is a culture war between ultra-Orthodox and secular Israelis, and a fringe group has taken it to the extreme.
don't quite trust the Israeli political system or the police or all the
structures of authority and so a very tiny group has declared a war on
the entire Israeli mainstream," he said.
The Intel protests pit
holy tradition against high-technology and point to the dilemma of
trying to apply ancient Jewish law in a modern Jewish state.