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Ultra-Orthodox Politicians Demand Kosher Smartphones, Removal of All Apps Deemed “Too Distracting from Prayer”

JERUSALEM – In a move that highlights the tension between religious values and modern convenience, ultra-Orthodox politicians in Israel are demanding the creation of “kosher smartphones”. These devices would be stripped of all apps and internet access deemed “too distracting from prayer” or in conflict with their community’s strict religious guidelines.

The proposed list of forbidden content is sweeping: no social media, no video streaming, no news websites, and even no games (farewell, Candy Crush). Navigation apps are also under scrutiny, with concerns they might lure the devout off their designated paths.

“A smartphone is a tool,” stated Rabbi Moshe Sternfeld, leading the initiative. “Like a hammer, it can be used for good or distraction. We must ensure our youth are equipped with the spiritual equivalent of safety goggles.”

The proposal has sparked a whirlwind of debate, both within Israel and the global tech world. Critics decry the move as an attempt to isolate and control an entire community, likening it to digital censorship. Technology advocates argue the move is impractical in the interconnected age, potentially hindering education and economic opportunities for the ultra-Orthodox.

Meanwhile, smartphone manufacturers are eyeing a potentially lucrative niche. Rumors swirl of a ‘Shomer Shabbat Edition’ devoid of tempting apps, with offline-only maps and a pre-loaded prayer book taking center stage.

The fallout extends beyond technology. Schools within the ultra-Orthodox communities are bracing for an influx of bored students with an unprecedented amount of time on their hands. Synagogues are anticipating a potential drop in attendance, as many cite the convenience of streaming services as a way to participate in prayer from home.

Social media is ablaze with hot takes. “#KosherPhone is trending,” alongside memes depicting people staring longingly at blank phone screens, or ironically using a rotary phone to ‘access’ TikTok.

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