The Cinema City chain will be opening a movie theater complex in the capital that will not operate on Shabbat, Jerusalem's city council decided Thursday following a stormy meeting.
Only three councilors present at the meeting objected to the move.
City council approved a proposal submitted Sunday by the city's Finance Committee, which conditioned the opening of the complex on weekday-only operations. Officials in the capital said the movie theaters will open in about a year from now.
Deputy Mayor David Hadari (National Religious Party,) who led the proposal and recommended that the cinemas remain closed on Shabbat, lauded the decision.
"I think this is one of the things that make Jerusalem special," he said in a conversation with Ynet. "We need to learn how to live together, seculars, religious, and ultra-Orthodox."
"On such matters, everyone needs to be able to make some concessions – here, the Orthodox made a concession by agreeing to the construction of the cinemas, and the seculars made a concession by agreeing not to operate them on Shabbat," he said. "This is the formula for coexistence in Jerusalem."
However, secular council members were furious in the wake of the decision.
"The conduct of (Mayor) Barkat, who got here with a secular agenda, shows that he has been afflicted with the 'haredim syndrome,' which is a sort of irrational fear of their power in this city," Dr. Meir Margalit (Meretz) told Ynet. The councilor said Barkat has not advanced any secular agenda ever since violence erupted over the opening of the Karta parking lot on Shabbat, charging that the mayor is "forgetting the pledges he made to his voters."
Margalit said the latest vote reminded him of events 20 years ago, when seculars in Jerusalem had to fight for the opening of every restaurant and road on Shabbat.
"I thought we were beyond this phase, yet it turns out that in Jerusalem everything repeats itself rather than moving in an enlightened direction," he said. "Later we're surprised that young people and seculars don't want to stay here."