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The Net is a deadly poison say rabbis

Ultra-orthodox council wants the Web thrown out of Jewish homes

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Leading Israeli rabbis have banned the Internet from Jewish homes after dubbing it a thousand times more dangerous than TV. The ultra-orthodox Council of Torah Sages signed the ruling, which also slammed computers, CD players and films, calling the Web the "world's leading cause of temptation." "It incites and encourages sin and abomination of the worst kind," it added. Published last week, the ruling said the Web "puts the future generations of Israel in grave danger in a way that no other threat has since Israel became a nation". It ordered Jewish families not to hook up to the Internet in their homes. Use of cyberspace was allowed to continue in the workplace, but the council stated that users must "seek every way to reduce usage". "As a result, all persons not given permission for Internet use are called upon to delete the Internet browser from their Windows program," Haaretz newspaper reported. Extremist sect Haredi published its own reaction to the ban, calling the Web "a deadly poison [which] burns souls". The ruling is unlikely to effect the majority of the Jewish community, which is more secular in outlook. Less than one per cent of the UK's 300,000 Jews are ultra-Orthodox. One source close to the UK online Jewish community, said the rabbis were over-reacting. However, he didn't want to be seen to speaking out against the rabbi's decision, so he asked to remain anonymous. "If you look at some Web sites, the URL seems harmless but they are used by cyber-squatters for porn sites," he said. "But in general the Internet does not destroy, it creates and educates." ® Related stories: Online Jewish bunfight erupts Jewish Web site values teen entrepreneur at millions

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