A day after some 1,500 haredim arrived at electronic chip maker Intel's offices in the Har Hotzvim neighborhood in Jerusalem to protest the fact that the company employs dozens of workers on Shabbat, Mayor Nir Barkat said he "supports" the company's activities.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of Intel's new plant in Har Hotzvim, Barkat said, "I condemn the acts of violence (on the haredim's part), which will achieve nothing, and hope the sides reach an understanding.
"I am a staunch supporter of the status quo and co-existence in the capital. Intel has been operating in Jerusalem for the past 24 years under the same format," said the mayor, "I will continue working for the company's success and expansion, and towards bringing additional high-tech companies to the capital."
"I call on all public leaders in Jerusalem and the State to work towards calming the situation down," he added.
Minister of Industry, Trade, and Labor Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, who also took part in the ceremony, said, "Those who think violence will solve the problem are mistaken. Anyone who believes the government will tolerate riots and acts of vandalism is mistaken."
Intel Israel General Manager Maxine Fassberg said the company must maintain its ability to perform in the best possible manner and to this end it will continue to operate "whenever needed and as long as needed."
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.
Intel employees were inside the plant at the time of the protest.