Haredi websites respond to rabbis' condemnation
In public statements, haredi website managers attempt to avoid confrontation with religious leaders, align themselves with traditional views. Off record they say campaign against them led by hypocritical lobbyists concerned with threat to newspaper advertisement
Kobi Nahshoni • Ynet
The ultra-Orthodox websites have not given up their fight in the face of the senior rabbis' campaign against them. Following the first harsh condemnation document published by the rabbis, all website managers declared their devotion to the "great ones" on Sunday.
However, despite the desperate attempts to align themselves, the websites have had a particularly rough weekend. One of the managers of the "Behadrei Haredim" website resigned his post immediately after the publication, whereas other reporters and editors are also reconsidering their future in the internet.
In their public statements haredi website managers tried to avoid confrontation with the rabbis and their representatives. However, off the record, they claimed that the campaign is being led by "hypocritical and frustrated lobbyists only concerned with the advertisement of haredi dailies and as usual they cynically recruit the outstanding rabbis of their generation," as one source put it.
They claimed that a similar campaign was held in the past against the dailies and maintained that the struggle will not change anything.
Dov Poversky, one of the managers of the extremely popular Behadrei Haredim website announced his resignation Saturday. Prior to his decision the website posted an apologetic article in response to the rabbis' condemnation.
"We can attest that we have dropped hundreds of items not aligned with the values which we set for ourselves. We can say with a clear conscience that on more than one occasion we received guidance from great teachers on issues at the heart of the agenda and followed their orders with no exceptions," the article stated.
Reporters of the "Kikar HaShabat" website addressed the issue through commentary inserted to the news item regarding the rabbis' letter. "The growing use of internet in the haredi public and the attempt to create viable alternatives are the basis of our existence on the one hand, and on the other we are attentive to problems which arise as a result of lack of proper judgment in some cases."
'Lesser of evils'
A statement issued by the Haredim website read, "We have entered the internet world only to act as the lesser of evils. There is no haredi office or institution which doesn't have internet; there are thousands of haredi net surfers. We only aim for the opinions of rabbis and Torah greats. We shall move forward in the road they take us, at the price of great financial loss."
Noam Zigman, one of the managers of the Ladaat.net website believes the letter was justified. "We have always maintained that the haredi person does not belong in the internet, but when he uses it for work purposes and seeks to be informed of the news, he should have a proper place to do so."
He noted that his website only sought to prevent ultra-Orthodox surfers from entering secular websites.
Chaim Tversky, chief editor of the newly founded Etrog website published a special article regarding the affair in which he maintained that the website was created in a reality of many haredim already surfing the net.
”This enterprise in its short history has managed to be a beacon which escapes any disputation," the article read.