The ultra-Orthodox community's senior rabbis have declared war on haredi websites, saying they contribute to corruption within the community.
Is a harsh document obtained by Ynet Thursday, the rabbis denounce the websites – the majority of which are daily news publications unsanctioned by the ultra-Orthodox establishment – on grounds that they "pursue all manners of news and gossip that defame our public" and "spread slander, lies and impurities to thousands."
Ironically, the document was leaked and posted on the "Haredim" website – one of the sites denounced by the rabbis.
"We already know that many souls in Israel have been lost to the dangers of the Internet, which has been banned by the strictest (halachic) orders from every home," it said.
The rabbis further stated that it is the ultra-Orthodox websites "which impeach a public tempted to (surf) the vilest of places, which have already caused so many in Israel to breach Torah laws about things best kept private."
The document was signed by dozens of the ultra-Orthodox public's most prominent rabbis, including Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv, Rabbi Aharon Yehuda Leib Shteinman and Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky.
The rabbis also demanded advertisers cease their dealings with the websites named in the list "To those who cooperate with them – we hereby warn you… individuals, groups and companies are not to advertise with them."
A haredi journalist told Ynet that the rabbis' position "is a very dramatic, historic thing, since they have so far refrained from taking such steps in their fight against the Internet."
This move, he added, "Is a direct war on the websites and it will be a fierce battle. It will start with the personal persecution of Internet personnel and who knows where it will end. This move may very well mean Armageddon is upon us."