Israeli Rabbi To Followers: Burn iPhones

An influential ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi has ordered his followers to burn their iPhones in the latest move to encourage his followers to keep the outside world at bay.

The decree was given by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 84, just ahead of Judaism’s holiest day, Yom Kippur, which begins on Tuesday, reports ABC News.

In the announcement, Kanievsky stated that it is forbidden to own a smartphone, and, for those who already had one, they needed to burn it. The decree follows up with the ultra-Orthodox view of keeping the internet out of their religion.

It was posted on the front page of the religious Yateed Neeman newspaper while mainstream Israeli newspapers gushed about Apple’s latest smartphone, the iPhone 5.

Israel has a growing ultra-Orthodox minority, which closely guards its traditional way of life against any influence by the secular majority. Many in this minority shun TVS and computers in order to avoid images that break their modesty and value standards.

The iPhone ban comes in the middle of a push by the ultra-religious Jewish leaders around the world as they seek to steer their followers away from the temptations the internet has to offer.

In May, tens of thousands of black-suited Jewish men gathered in a stadium in New York to hear a few of the community’s most famous rabbis as they lectured on the dangers of what they believe is immoral content easily accessible through computers and smartphones, notes Fox News.

After the decree by the Israeli Rabbi this week, large posters began showing up around Jerusalem’s ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods with messages about how iPhones are “an abomination 24 hours a day.” They also called on community members to kick people who use iPhones out of religious seminaries and to also keep their children away from children of iPhone users.