Dec 31, 2007

The status of internet use in the Haredi world

We recently read in all the frum newspapers (Mishpacha, Hamodia, etc.) that the Rabbonim have allowed [limited] use of the internet. I would guess they realized that no matter how bad and destructive it has the potential to be, it cannot be banned completely, as people use it for daily life; paying bills, work, livelihood, information, etc. Better to try to control it to a certain extent, than unsuccessfully fight against it.

Being that it is now allowed, Globes (a leading Israeli financial newspaper) was curious as to the level of Internet usage already in the Haredi community. They spoke with the Assistant CEO of Bezeq - the leading company providing infrastructure and connectivity for the Internet, and asked him what the percentages of connectivity are in the Haredi neighborhoods.

Ran Goron, the Assistant CEO of Bezeq, responded that overall the Internet in Haredi areas is hovering at about 20%. Now that the Internet has been declared to be allowed, they expect the percentage to increase.

Interesting numbers he mentioned were the usage in specific neighborhoods:
Beitar - 18%
Bnei brak - 17%
Netivot - 27%
Tzfat - 31%
Kfar Hassidim - 29%
Elad - 31%
Jerusalem (Ramot) - 29%
Modiin Ilit 15%
The most interesting one that I found (all the previous cities can be written off to a certain extent as to having younger crowds, maybe a little more modern communities, ergo reasonably high percentages of internet users, despite the ban) is that in Romema/Mea Shearim the internet use was at 19% of the community!

Other internet companies provided numbers that were slightly higher.

That is the status of the internet ban, and, I would suggest, a large part of the reason they decided to do away with it. the people showed this was a "takana she'ain ha'tzibur yacholin la'amod bo" - a decree that the public could not stand by. People were using the internet regardless of the ban. They were smart to do away with it. Now the trick is for them to actually find a way to successfully control it (if the people will allow them)..


  1. I think that if you look at the historical statistics, you will find a marked increase in internet use among the haredi sector since lifeinisrael went online.

    The problem with the internet is not controlling it. It is educating people what is or is not appropriate. The role of a rav has traditionally been for halachik decisions, advice, guidance, etc., and not to enforce a certain lifestyle or set of practices. That has always been the individual's responsibility. A rav is supposed to show the way, not force you down it.

  2. true, but this particular community has historically not chosen that way (or at least the outspoken part of it has not), but rather chosen the "force you down it" method. think of the various bans, mehadrin buses, kosher cellphones, etc...

    I wonder if there is a way for me to analyze how many readers I have in the neighborhoods mentioned in the Globes article (I forgot to link to it, and will do that soon)

  3. oh wow, this is interesting news. hahaha! considering I just posted sulking about how having a computer in a house is questionable by some rabbaim.

  4. The high percent in Romema Mea Shearim has probably alot to do with the government and munipal offices that exist there such as Misrad Hachinuch, Egged, MDA, Kupot Cholim etc.


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