She entered the big room and could not believe her eyes. Ultra-Orthodox men, whose connection with the academia was completely happenstance, were sitting at the computers and surfing the Web.
“I was in shock,” she recalled. “I passed them and they just continued surfing pornographic sites as if they were watching the news. These are not people that I know; they are too old to be students and anyone can enter the university and this center, so they simply took advantage of the situation,” she said.
Late night visit at Bar-Ilan University
Many haredim take advantage of the room in order to surf the net; a pastime they can’t experience at home, usually because it is not permitted by rabbis.
Apparently they arrive at the university during the wee hours of the night, enjoying the quiet and lack of supervision, and use the internet at their own volition.
“Everyone talks about it here,” said a yarmulke-wearing student. “A bunch of haredim from Bnei Brak come here, even married men who arrive after their wives and children have gone to sleep, and use the internet."
A university employee confirmed the rumors. “It’s true that this happens quite often and they tried catching these people but they aren’t always successful,” he said. “It is difficult to control what goes on there and we can’t just close the computer center used by the students.”
It is relatively easy to enter the university late at night. A Yedioth Ahronoth Ramat Gan reporter wandered into the area on Monday night and assessed the phenomenon, coming across a number of ultra-Orthodox men who sat and surfed freely on the library’s computers. Some of them were indeed on porn sites.
The university said in response that “in the past it was brought to the university’s attention that strangers who are not students arrive on campus, enter the Student Union offices and use the computers without permission.
“In coordination with the union, we reached a decision to decrease the amount of hours the offices are open and we were indeed successful in significantly reducing the phenomenon. The university administration is planning on assessing additional steps in completely eliminating the entrance of strangers.”
Adi Sasson contributed to the report