Thursday, January 28, 2010

War on internet is a fight the rabbis can't win

I have an opinion piece in The Forward this week on the futility of the Israeli Charedi rabbis' fight against the internet:

Are Israel’s Haredi religious authorities losing control of their followers?

In December, leading Israeli rabbis launched a new push to curtail Internet use among ultra-Orthodox Jews, emphasizing that their longstanding ban on Web surfing applied to sites geared toward the Haredi community as well. They threatened stricter penalties than ever before for those who disobeyed. But rather than showing their power, the battle against Haredi Internet use has exposed the rabbis’ weakness, as large parts of the community resolutely remain online.

Read the whole thing here.

Meanwhile, Kol Halashon, an Israeli-based website which has archived thousands of Torah classes, has closed in compliance with the latest ban. Considering how many Charedim are evidently still online, is this really considered a win for the rabbis?

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