Ultra-Orthodox seek boycott of their own Web sites
Sacramento Bee / Associated Press, 26 January 2010
JERUSALEM -- Prominent ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis are targeting a new foe in the decidedly impious world of the Internet: They've demanded a boycott of their community's own Web sites, accusing them of disseminating "gossip, slander ... filth and abominations."
It's the latest flashpoint in a long-simmering battle by rabbis in the profoundly insular ultra-Orthodox, or haredi, community to preserve their influence over hundreds of thousands of followers in an era when the forces of technology are growing ever more powerful.
The ultra-Orthodox portals do not contain the seamy material that traditionally has been the main target of rabbinical ire. But the sites, which publish articles on politics, economics, health and religion, do offer freewheeling discussions with irreverent and unmonitored reader responses - including direct criticism of rabbis' authority.