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Rabbi Shapira. Internet Rimon Photo: Dudi Vaknin
Rabbi Shapira. Internet Rimon Photo: Dudi Vaknin
 
Rabbi Stav. Supports move Photo: Dana Kopel
Rabbi Stav. Supports move Photo: Dana Kopel
 
 

Rabbis petition for 'kosher' internet on cell phones

Leaders spanning spectrum of Religious Zionism sign petition warning of danger of internet on mobile phones, demand special filtering service from cellular companies

Kobi Nahshoni
Published: 11.03.09, 08:22 / Israel Jewish Scene

Many religious educators have grappled with the following issue. Internet connections have already been blocked and taken out of students' homes, but how can one prevent forbidden internet surfing on cell phones?

 

Ynet learned that dozens of rabbis and educators from the Religious Zionism stream have recently signed on a petition demanding cellular companies to offer "kosher" internet packages to its customers. In exchange, they promise to support whichever company encourages the public to use this service exclusively.

 

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Among those signed on the petition are rabbis spanning the whole spectrum of Religious Zionism, from Rabbi David Stav, chairman of Tzohar, all the way to Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira and Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, both associated with the nationalist haredi stream.

 

In their petition to the cellular companies, the rabbis explain that site-blocking services and the launch of Rimon Internet as a dedicated kosher internet provider were a fitting response to the risks of internet surfing, but "the world of the internet is not resting on its laurels. Today, you can connect to the internet, not just from home, but from nearly ever location, be it through wireless networks one can connect to in many public locations or through modern cellular devices."

 

In light of this, the rabbis asked that the companies cooperate with Rimon Internet in order to allow the rabbi-authorized company to supply them with "safe surfing" solutions through these channels as well.

 

One of the rabbis initiating the move is Rabbi Yehoshua Shapira, a prominent nationalist haredi rabbi. Last week, he called upon high school yeshivas to increase pressure put on communications companies to take action on the subject. "The first (company) to act on the issue and operate clean internet – we will put all of our collective weight into committing that students be in places that has filtered internet." Chairman of Yeshivot Bnei Akiva Rabbi Chaim Drukman reiterated the importance of this move.

 

Rabbi Shapira, one of the founders of Rimon Internet, explained in the past, "It is better to bring pork dripping with fat into the house and put it on the stove until its aroma fills the house than to connect to the internet." Today, he has been transformed and no longer thinks that waging war against the source of the temptation, which has become a necessary tool in nearly every Israeli household, is effective or correct.

 

As an educator who is daily exposed to the difficulties and distress of youth who surfed on pornography internet sites that "collapsed their spiritual world," he decided to launch the internet provide for kosher surfing, a move that he is trying to replicate in the cellular world.

 

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