Lifestyle & Belief

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi to followers: Burn your iPhones


An ultra-Orthodox rabbi in Israel called on his followers to burn their iPhones ahead of the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.


Uriel Sinai

Ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbis have a new target for their ire: iPhones.

In an effort to encourage members of the insular community to keep the world at arm's length, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky ordered his followers to burn their iPhones ahead of the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, the Associated Press reported.

The AP noted that a religious newspaper published the decree banning smartphones and calling for those who owned them to burn them, just as mainstream Israeli newspapers were abuzz with news of Apple's latest phone, the iPhone 5.

"In a responsum to a reader published on Sunday in the ultra-Orthodox daily newspaper Yated Ne’eman, Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky said that 'it is forbidden to be in possession of [an iPhone], and one must burn it'; this despite the fact that the reader, a business-owner, said it was 'crucial for [his] dealings,'" reported The Times of Israel.

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"Kanievsky also warned that it is forbidden to sell the phone to a non-Jew, 'just as it is forbidden to sell a weapon to a non-Jew,'" said The Times of Israel.

The Jerusalem Post noted that the rabbi's announcement was part of a larger campaign by ultra-Orthodox rabbis who denounce smartphones and the internet, because of the access they provide to pornography and information beyond the ultra-Orthodox community's limits.

According to The Jerusalem Post, many ultra-Orthodox Jews have "kosher" cell phones with no internet or texting capabilities. Rabbi Lior Glazer held a ritual iPhone-smashing ceremony on September 12, and the Eda Haredit organization banned iPhones, Androids and BlackBerrys for the "spiritual holocaust" they wrought.