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Israel's ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs ignore internet taboos

The leadership of the ultra-Orthodox communities in Israel are against the internet, but more and more ultra-Orthodox businesses find ways to be part of the digital arena.
Orthodox tech

Last month, Avrimi Kliger and Mendi Nabul launched a new digital-ultra-Orthodox advertising agency called People. Until a few years ago, the big advertising budgets targeting ultra-Orthodox consumers went exclusively to print media. But nowadays, say experts, ultra-Orthodox digital advertising has reached parity with print. So how much are ultra-Orthodox really exposed to the digital world?

“As far as the ultra-Orthodox leadership is concerned, there’s no internet in the community," said Shimon Barsky, an ultra-Orthodox yeshiva student who works in sales of smart but “kosher” cellphones. Communication Minister Yoaz Hendel's proposed discontinuation of those phones (with allegedly offensive content blocked), is frozen now following a lawsuit filed by the ultra-Orthodox members of Knesset. But, Barsky said, "those very same Knesset members who sat in the courtroom as plaintiffs were seen using their smartphones as they awaited the court’s decision.” 

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