Israeli consumers will soon be able to buy “kosher” calling cards that automatically block callers from reaching pornographic services. The new kosher calling cards, adorned with photos of the Western Wall and other sacred Jewish sites, will be sold at post offices and kiosks.
Blocked numbers will be monitored by Clean Line, an agency run by Israel’s national phone company, Bezeq, in coordination with the Rabbinical Committee for Communications.
The Clean Line is a special filtering service offered by Bezeq, similar to that made available by internet providers to families with children who wish to limit their access to adult material when using the computer.
Phone numbers deemed “undesirable” by the rabbinical committee are blocked on the Clean Line. The free service is already available to Bezeq customers.
As with the advent of the kosher phones, it is expected that kosher phone cards will become a popular standard in the observant Jewish community. At least 800,000 Israelis are considered to be part of the hareidi religious sector, a significant marketing chunk of the country’s 7.4 million citizens.
The “kosher phone” concept started a couple of years ago when cell phone companies were urged by the nation’s rabbis to produce a mobile phone that would create less temptation for Jewish youth to stray from the Torah path.
The result: a cell phone without a camera, without internet access and which blocked the caller’s ability to send and receive text (SMS) messages – a simple, “no frills” phone. A lesser-known feature is the phone’s ability to block more than 10,000 phone numbers to pornographic services as well.
Kosher phones are inscribed with a seal of approval from the Rabbinical Council and display the same symbol on start-up. For kosher consumers, the service is a boon: one can call within the kosher network (from one kosher phone to another) for an extremely low rate.
However, woe betide the kosher phone consumer who makes a call on the Sabbath – that customer will pay a whopping charge that can total up to 100 times the kosher rate per minute.