Despite the wrath of the Haredim, the minister agrees to move the entire number on kosher phone lines

Communications Minister Yoaz Hendel announced Thursday that mobile phone companies should allow full portability of numbers on so-called kosher lines, a move many ultra-Orthodox rabbis have been fighting hard against for months.

On the advice of rabbis, many Haredim use kosher phones — devices that have been stripped of social media, texting, and most other applications — and phone numbers associated with these devices and lines can be easily identified.

A statement from the ministry said that starting from Passover, all kosher phone users over the age of 18 will be able to keep their original phone numbers even if they move to a new service provider and start using a smartphone — something that many rabbis strongly oppose. authorities.

The group responsible for kosher phone services is known as the Rabbinical Commission on Communications, which has strong influence over the kosher-based mobile phone business, as well as powerful tools with societal and business impacts.

Kosher phone numbers are distinct, and have specific numbers that follow the company prefix, so that even now, if someone called from a phone service not approved by the rabbinical committee, it immediately became clear that the caller did not have a supervised phone number and device.

Haredi officials have objected to Hendel’s plans to open up the ultra-Orthodox phone market, with protests over the issue raging in recent months turning violent in Jerusalem.

Communications Minister Yaaz Hendel in Modi’in, December 5, 2021 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Many have argued that allowing people to switch their numbers with moderated prefixes to an unsupervised mobile phone service would harm the ability of institutions in the Haredi community to maintain oversight over their members.

United Torah Judaism leader Moshe Gafni criticized the decision, calling Hendel a “shameless dictator”.

“Joaz Hendel imposes his opinion on a large audience interested in the commission’s testimony while gaining public support neither for his party, which has no public vote in its favour, nor for a government that does not have a seat in the Knesset,” Gaffney said. . The man is a rude dictator. Every effort is being made to fix this injustice.”

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