Some 1,500 haredim arrived at electronic chip maker Intel's offices in the Har Hotzvim neighborhood in Jerusalem on Saturday to protest the fact that the company employs dozens of workers on Shabbat. The protested ended relatively peacefully with isolated incidents taking place.
After almost two hours of relative calm, hundreds of the demonstrators began attacking reporters covering the protest. The haredim hurled gravel and various other objects at the journalists, but no one was injured.
Another incident occurred when Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Yitzhak Pindrus of the United Torah Judaism party arrived at the scene.
The ultra-Orthodox demonstrators forced him out of the area, and protested against the fact that despite his being haredi as well, he has failed to use his position to prevent the Shabbat desecration.
Police forces blocked the roads leading to the Har Hotzvim compound so as to prevent seculars from accidently entering the area with their vehicles. Police and security officers were scarce within the compound, and were mostly operating outside of it.
In response to the protest, Intel said in a statement: "We will continue with our routine according to the need that we are committed to." Intel employees were inside the plant at the time of the protest.
The large number of participants in the demonstration is the result of the many calls the community's head rabbis made urging the public to join the protest, as well as the rare cooperation between the Edah Haredit and the mainstream ultra-Orthodox public.
Police backed up their forces in the capital on Saturday ahead of both the Intel protest and the Karta parking lot protest to take place later in the day.
Police sources told Ynet they would block any haredi attempts to break in to Intel's offices or block the entrance to the parking lot.
Intel also prepared for the worst on Thursday, and placed a barbed wire fence around the compound. "We always worked according to our needs, and if needs call for it – we work on Shabbat as well, all in accordance with the law. There has been no change in the status-quo," Kobi Becker of Intel Israel told Ynet.
Efrat Weiss contributed to this report