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MP4s are devil's device, says Orthodox Court
Ultra-Orthodox community in Jerusalem enraged over sales of MP4 devices, considered 'devil's way of driving people to sin.' Orthodox Righteous Court of Law issues formal ruling banning vendors from stocking devices; two stores selling them vandalized
Technological advancements have always posed somewhat of a problem for the ultra-Orthodox community. The rabbis often choose to ban any public contact with any unfamiliar gadget, for fear their users might be exposed to inappropriate content; and so MP4 players, which allow users to watch films, have now become the newest threat to chastity.

 

The fight against the device reached a new level last week, when an MP4 supplier, whose store is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem's Meah Shearim neighborhood, found it vandalized – its window and showcases smashed.

 

A second store, located just off the capital's Shabbat Square, did not fare much better: It too was vandalized and its repair lab burnt down. Some say that was an event waiting to happen: For several weeks prior to the arson, a dozen-or-so yeshiva student used to demonstrate in front of the store every week and protest the sale of the banned devices.

 

The storeowners even found pashkevilim (informative ads or posters often plastered in the Jerusalem's religious neighborhoods) distributed against them: "A terrible plague is upon us, calming victims every day… these sinful devices were banned by all the great rabbis, but are still common in the haredi world… their devilish distributors want nothing more than to drive the people of Israel to sin, through movies and other abominations," read the ads.

 

Another pashkevil, by the "association for the saving of the youth in the Holy Land," informed the public about a rabbis and an Orthodox Righteous Court of Law ordinance banning MP4 devices all together: "This little device is the devil's way to try and gain entrance to our protected homes and yeshivas, disguised as something you can listen to Torah lessons through," it said.

 

Ynet has learned that the Orthodox Righteous Court of Law had, indeed, held a session on MP4 devices. The court ruled that the devices must be banned and issued a warning to all vendors not to stock them, saying those who do "will be subject to a court hearing," and giving vendors three week to comply with its ruling.

 

The police have reportedly launched an investigation into both vandalism incidents.

 

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