The Internet has aﬀected Israel’s religious populations no less than religious communities in other countries. The place of the Internet in the Jewish religious experience is undoubted. No less than in other religions, the Internet has created a revolution in accessibility to information about Judaism and Jewish-related matters. In 2007 Technion scientists inscribed the entire Hebrew text of the Old Testament – 300,000 words – onto a tiny silicon surface; the surface measured less than 0.5 square millimetres.1 A search of Google in 2007 discovered that Judaism had 15,900,000 hits (Patrick, 2007, p. 71, footnote 2). There were an estimated 8,500 Jewish websites in 2005.2
The plethora of religious websites was testimony to the positive value which the media technological revolution had on religion. Yet, like religions in other faiths, Jewish religious communities had mixed reactions, between the fears that seamier sides to the Internet, including pornographic sites, would weaken religious identity. Yet, whether they disliked it or not, the Internet was so embedded in the twenty-ﬁrst century that the chances of banning it were next to nil even in the case of tightly embedded religious enclaves. This raised the question of how the Internet should be integrated into their lifestyle to cause as limited damage to religious identity as possible. This chapter analyses the response of religious Jewry in Israel to the Internet.