Intel to remain open on Sabbath in Jerusalem

AP News
Posted: Nov 15, 2009 1:15 PM

Intel Corp. said it has no plans to close a factory in Jerusalem on Saturdays, despite violent protests by ultra-Orthodox Jews who accuse the chip maker of desecrating the Jewish Sabbath.

About 1,500 protesters demonstrated Saturday outside the company's facilities, located in Jerusalem's Har Hotzvim industrial zone near ultra-Orthodox areas. Intel spokesman Kobi Bachar said Sunday the protests were sparked by the opening of a new facility at the site.

But he said the company has operated on Saturdays for more than 20 years and will continue to do so.

"Nothing has changed. We have been open there for 24 years in accordance with the law," Bachar said.

Ultra-Orthodox activists often protest businesses that open on Saturdays. City Hall's decision to open a municipal parking lot on Saturdays has sparked sometimes violent demonstrations over the past year.

Most work places in Jerusalem shut down for the Jewish Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday until Saturday night. Businesses that do open on Saturday's are located away from religious neighborhoods to avoid conflict.

Tensions between secular and ultra-Orthodox Jews, who make up a third of Jerusalem's residents, have always been high. Relations worsened last year when voters elected a secular mayor to replace the ultra-Orthodox incumbent.