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Intel in Jerusalem 'Sabbath deal'

Ultra-Orthodox Jews protest outside Intel offices in Jerusalem. Photo: 14 November 2009
Ultra-Orthodox Jews have recently held a series of protests in Israel

US company Intel will stop employing Jewish workers at its Jerusalem plant on Saturdays, following a large protest rally by Orthodox Jews, reports say.

Under a compromise deal, Intel will only employ 60 non-Jewish staff on Sabbath - the Jewish day of rest, the reports in Israeli media suggest.

The deal was reportedly agreed at talks led by Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. Intel has so far made no comments.

Last week, about 1,000 Orthodox Jews protested at Intel's Jerusalem office.

Intel, the world's biggest maker of computer chips, ringed its offices with barbed wire before Saturday's rally. There were no reports of violence.

Mr Rivlin has presented the compromise proposal to United Torah Judaism leader Uri Makelev, following talks that also involved Intel Israel officials, Israeli media say.

Mr Makelev is expected to deliver a response by the ultra-Orthodox rabbis shortly.

Israel's ultra-Orthodox Jews have become increasingly militant in recent months in their attempts to enforce a Saturday work ban.

They have held regular protests against the opening of a Jerusalem car park on the Jewish Sabbath.



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