Archive photo: Using the computer
Archive photo: Using the computer Istock

51% of haredi rabbis in Israel use the internet, according to an Israeli poll whose findings were released today.

The poll, conducted by Prof. Yoel Cohen, a researcher in communications and religion at the University of Ariel’s School of Communications, assessed the relationship of rabbis from different religious streams in Israel to computers, cell phones, the internet, and social media.

According to the poll, whose results were published today in Ynet, 71% of haredi rabbis and 98% of religious Zionist rabbis own a computer. While 94% of non-haredi rabbis had a private internet connection, only 43% of haredi rabbis did.

Among all streams of rabbis, at least 70% prepare Torah classes with a computer. On the other hand, while most non-haredi rabbis use the internet for “religious services,” 74% of haredi rabbis said that they don’t use the internet for such purposes.

A quarter of religious Zionist rabbis said they had social media accounts, while a “negligible” number of haredi rabbis said they did.

According to Cohen, findings were based on 330 questionnaires which were filled out anonymously.

He asserted that the findings prove that the campaign in the haredi sector against “the harms of technology” had largely failed, as even rabbis of the sector own computers and use the internet. Still, he said, “All the rabbis, especially the haredi ones, do not utilize enough the many options made possible by new media for obtaining information and for additional connection to their communities.”

“The younger generation of haredi rabbis demonstrates abilities and full awareness of the potential of information technology - as do their communities. The continuing challenge that stands before the rabbis is to advance with their communities towards the technological revolution of the 21st century, while ensuring that the values and ethics of Judaism and the commitment to Jewish social standards remain in force in our day just as they were before the computer,” Cohen concluded.