Haredim may get emergency SMS to ‘kosher’ phones

Home Front Command working with rabbis to circumvent blocks on web services deemed unsuitable by haredim.

Kosher cellphones 370 (photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
Kosher cellphones 370
(photo credit: Nir Elias/Reuters)
The Home Front Command is working to find a way for members of the haredi community to receive SMS messages sent to their cellphones warning of emergency situations such as missile attacks, earthquakes and similar events.
The Home Front Command is conducting a trial of the messaging system in which it sends text messages to cellphones in various regions of the country in which a mock “warning” alerts recipients of incoming missile attacks.
Many members of the haredi community, however, have “kosher” cellphones which are configured to prevent the sending and receiving of SMS messages as well as access to the Internet, to prevent exposure to inappropriate material.
These safeguards also prevent owners of kosher phones from receiving the Home Front Command’s SMS messages.
A spokeswoman for the Home Front Command said that it was working with a body known as the Rabbinical Committee for Communications to try to resolve the issue.
The spokeswomen stressed that the SMS service was in no way designed as a replacement for other warning methods such as radio, pagers, sirens and similar means employed to warn of emergency situations and that the haredi community will be fully aware of any warnings the Home Front Command issues.