Senior haredi rabbinic leaders from both the hasidic Agudat Israel Party and the non-hasidic Degel HaTorah Party issued a ban today on listening, operating or being interviewed by haredi news hotlines.
Ashkenazi Haredi Rabbis Across The Board Ban Haredi News Hotlines
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Senior haredi rabbinic leaders from both the hasidic Agudat Israel Party and the non-hasidic Degel HaTorah Party issued a ban today on listening, operating or being interviewed by haredi news hotlines. On Tuesday, FailedMessiah.com reported that the Vizhnitzer Rebbe had already issued the ban for his followers and that a wider ban covering many haredi groups would soon be issued, and now it has.
The ban – which was jointly issued by the Council of Torah Sages of both parties and whose language is described as “harsh” by Yeshiva World – was reportedly published in every haredi newspaper in Israel. All major haredi newspapers in Israel and the US have rabbinic “advisory boards” which serve as censors, and the papers’ coverage of news often resembles what was printed in Soviet-era Russian newspapers like Pravda.
Haredi news websites have much of the same rabbinic censorship haredi newspapers have – although that censorship tends to be much less formalized and often takes place after the fact, rather than before a story is posted.
The rabbis who signed today’s ban are afraid that the uncensored content offered by haredi news hotlines is damaging to the spiritual status of the haredi community. But these news hotlines also pose subtle – and, sometimes, direct – challenges to the leadership of these rabbis.