Some 2,000 people participated in what has become a weekly protest against the Ashdod municipality’s policies on businesses operating on Shabbat and the fines issued by the city against said businesses.
This weekend, no fines were issued, though that didn't stop protesters fro, calling on Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasry to resign.
Ofer Tzachar, one of the leaders of the struggle, warned that "after Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh, Ashdod will be next," referring to the rising religious coercion the two cities saw in recent years.
Fellow Ashdod resident Jacob Segev, 74, said recent steps by the municipality have "crossed all lines."
"Haredim are taking over every nook and cranny. They control the city council and Lasry and they decided that the city belongs to them like in Beit Shemesh," he exclaimed. "Even conservative Jews are opposed to this."
Ashdod resident Irit Rosman, 37, who came to the demonstration with her husband and two small children, said she wants to "live freely in (her) city."
"I want to be able to shop, go to restaurants, walk with my children in parks and go to museums and enjoy myself," she said, reiterating her opposition to the municipality's religious coercion.