Ashdod residents are protesting the municipality moving to close businesses in the city on Shabbat, and the distribution of warning letters to 150 such businesses. Mayor Lasry wrote on his Facebook page that he will be presenting possible solutions to the Shabbat commerce problem in the near future, which he christened collectively "Living together."
Heads of the city's protest, however, were less than impressed with the mayor's "Living together" solution, calling it in a post of their own "hollow slogans."
Orit Almozlino-Rize, one of the protest's leaders, said that, "The people of Ashdod don't want to hear hollow slogans anymore. The people of Ashdod demand actions on the ground."
"Just like other mayors were prudent enough to amend municipal bylaws, we hope the mayor of Ashdod does the same, working on behalf of the majority of the city's population," Almozlino-Rize said. "We cannot fathom why the mayor has to launch Facebook posts instead of speak up in interviews, or in conversations with residents."
"Not one overture had been made to converse with the protest's leaders thus far," Almozlino-Rize protested.
Ashdod resident Ofer Tzachar added, "I think it's just treading on our corns. Everyone can see what's happening in this city. We're all Ashdodites. We're sick of talk and slogans. We demand the status quo be redrawn from scratch and the municipal bylaw relating to all places of recreation, leisure and culture upheld."
"What the mayor offered was effectively to return to the situation of three weeks ago, but that won't happen. The public demands all municipal services, culture and recreation centers to be available on Shabbat. That's what we pay for," he added.
"Our youth has to go to Tel Aviv. Why do they need to leave town? I think we contribute to unity. I have never seen Ashdodites united around one goal. We're the silent majority. We've remained silent, and felt the noose slowly tightening around our necks," Tzachar concluded ominously.
Mayor Lasry, who has refrained from being interviewed on the matter so far, wrote in his Facebook post that, "In the past few weeks I have shown restraint. I did not allow myself to be dragged to badmouthing others and did not respond to the wild incitement campaign against me.
"I refused to take part in dividing the city and harshly harming its image. The lion's share of my efforts was thus aimed at constructing a solution that is up to spec both publically and legally. Today I can say with cautious optimism that such a solution is forthcoming," the mayor said.
Lasry had been meeting daily with representatives of different communities, he claimed, and other residents comprising the city's tapestry. The mayor listened to their opinions and ideas for a solution to the crisis, and "was glad that most people, on both sides of the argument, agreed and wanted to preserve the city's uniting and inclusive character, allowing everyone to continue living together."
Despite Lasry's statements, he has never met with any of the protest's leaders. Moreover, they claim they were never even approached for such a meeting.
Lasry further maintained that, "I will be presenting you with a broad view of this tangled issue in the near future, along with possible ways of solving it, born of the deep belief that Ashdod can be a shining example of the ability to bridge large lifestyles gaps among its populace, while recognizing each group's important, inalienable values."