A reason it took police so long to respond to the attack – 11 minutes, by some accounts – and likely a reason the death toll was as high as it was is because haredi rabbis had installed a device in the synagogue to block cellphone transmissions. And the synagogue did not have an easily accessible public phone.
According to a report in Yeshiva World, when the haredi Kol Berama Radio interviewed Rabbi David Yosef, a son of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and a member of the Sefardi haredi Shas Party's Council of Torah Sages, the following exchange took place – an exchange the Jerusalem Post failed to report in its coverage of that interview:
What about cell signal blocking devices? You know in Kehillas Bnei Torah [the haredi synagogue which was hit by a gruesome terror attack Tuesday that killed four haredi rabbis and a Druze policeman] they have such a device and that is why it took so long to call for help. They had to get outside. All of the phones were blocked inside.
You raise a very important point. First of all, the tzibur must learn to put the phones away in shul! That said, I would say that at least for this period, these devices should be disabled to permit cellular signals, at the very least until the security crisis in the capital is behind us G-d willing.
In other words, the reason it took police so long to respond to the terror attack Tuesday – 11 minutes, according to some reports – and likely the reason the death toll was as high as it was is because haredi rabbis had installed a device in the synagogue to block cellphone transmissions. And the synagogue did not have an easily accessible public phone.
This stupidity cost lives.
And would have been equally damaging in the case of a heart attack or other serious medical crisis.
What gave these haredi rabbis the right to block cellphone transmissions?
Da'as Torah – the so-called divinely inspired power haredim believe is vested in their rabbis.