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  • Sam Sokol

Reform to Break Israeli Rabbis' Monopoly Over Cellphones in ultra-Orthodox Community

The new regulation will allow Haredim to keep their kosher phone number when switching cellular provider, a move that will give the community freedom of choice and a break from the watchful eyes of the rabbis

Sam Sokol May 1, 2022

A long-planned reform which would effectively break up the shadowy Rabbis’ Committee for Communications Matters’ monopoly over cellular access for hundreds of thousands of Israelis is set to go into effect this summer, portending significant changes within the ultra-Orthodox community.

The new regulation, created by the Communications Ministry, will allow members of the ultra-Orthodox community to keep numbers assigned to their so-called kosher phones even after buying a smartphone, and will go into effect on July 31, despite vigorous rabbinic protests, the ministry announced on Sunday.

“The reform in the ultra-Orthodox cellular market comes after more than a decade in which about half a million ultra-Orthodox cellular consumers were discriminated against in the cellular field,” the ministry said in a statement.

The Rabbis’ Committee is a private group, backed by leading ultra-Orthodox rabbis, which has entered into a series of deals with Israeli cellular providers, allowing it to assume monopoly control over the certification of cellphones aimed at the Haredi market.

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