The truth must be told: The fundamental motivation behind ultra-Orthodox protests on Shabbat, regardless of whether they are directed against Intel, the Karta parking lot, or anything else is deep boredom, incredible emptiness, and the great frustration of haredi youngsters. These protests are not about love for the Shabbat.
Hundreds of energized young haredim are looking for something to do; looking for something interesting. They have no e-mail, no Facebook, and no place where they can play soccer. They don’t join the army and most of them will never work.
Long years at the yeshiva, from a very young age, where studies begin early in the morning and end very late at night, prompt great frustration among many of them – and especially those unfit for such a demanding course of study.
They have no real interaction with the world that rages around them, and this impossible reality coupled with their archaic and unrealistic way of life, along with the strict modesty limits, leads to protests that are sometimes wild and reckless; the type of protests that even haredi leaders don’t know how to stop.
Intel employs people who work on Shabbat. Not always; sometimes. Especially when they have a big project with a tight deadline. This is the life of people with responsibility, people who do not live off an allowance that comes from donations; people who choose to work and live life, rather than just walk alongside life.
Committed to nothingEmployees who keep the Shabbat are not obligated to work on Saturday, and those who do work on Shabbat don’t do it openly, in public, but rather, inside their offices – a fully private area. They don’t give their work public expression, and it’s not the kind of routine they enjoy too much. It’s all about commitment.
However, this commitment is different than the commitment which the haredi youngsters are trying to display on Shabbat; it’s real commitment.
After all, these young haredim are not really committed to the Shabbat. Had they been truly devoted to it, they would not be holding protests that prompt hundreds of police officers to desecrate the Shabbat. They would also not be assaulting reporters and media personnel with such crude violence.
However, the young protestors from the haredi neighborhoods have no commitment to the Shabbat. In fact, they have no commitment or obligation to anything. They do not need to make a living or support anyone, they do not need to join the army, and they do not need to take entry exams for university. All they need to do is pass the time in the great darkness surrounding them.