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The Schmooze

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli City Opens First Internet Café

It seems even the Haredi world has conceded to the necessity of the Internet – but don’t expect them to crash servers posting on FaceGlat or uploading wedding videos anytime soon.

Image by ISTOCK

The ultra-Orthodox city of Modiin Illit is getting its very first Internet café after receiving rabbinical approval, Ynet News reports. The venture, called Gilad Net, represents the latest foray of the ultra-Orthodox into the World Wide Web, which has previously been decreed an “abomination” by some Rabbis.

What’s being served at Gilad Net represents only the most “kosher” of the Internet – Rabbinic approval for the venture was dependant on the installation of content-control filters on the café’s computers. Only certain websites, such as Gmail, Ikea, and the pages of government ministries are available for perusal. However, this limited access is more than enough for Gilad Net’s client base, owner Yehuda Weisfish told Ynet. He insists his business is intended for “people who don’t want to bring a computer into their home and don’t need Internet on a daily basis… people who need the Web to access emails, bank accounts, HMOs and government ministries.” Which means that those who want to read the Shmooze will have to go elsewhere.

In addition to the content filters, Gilad Net has another way of weeding out undesirable communication – male and female computer users are separated. Weisfish told Ynet that “the store was initially intended for men only,” but they “have already opened a room for women too,” and intend to “look into the profitability of this move”.

However, male and female customers probably won’t be staying long enough to stop and chat. Users will be charged 5 shekels (about $1.45) per 15 minutes, but because the filtering system only approves what Weisfish deems “necessary websites.” “So far we’ve been successful and have already had more than 100 visitors,” Weisfish told Ynet.

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