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Bezeq Israel Telecom, Israel’s largest phone company, launched a Kosher phone service. The service will block calls from adult chat networks and other naughty or “improper” numbers. The service has been offered free and has been approved by Israel’s leading rabbis.
Bezeq Israel Telecom, the country’s dominant phone company, on Sunday launched a service that would block calls to porn and other “improper” destinations in a bid to attract ultra-Orthodox customers.
Bezeq had a monopoly on landline calls for decades but since September 2006 has been facing competition from the cable sector. Competition intensified in December when number portability — the ability to switch provider while retaining phone numbers — was introduced.
Avi Gabbay, Bezeq’s chief executive officer, said at a news conference the company had invested $500,000 on the new “Kosher phone line” service, which initially will be free and has been approved by Israel’s leading rabbis.
He noted that although the main market will be the ultra-Orthodox — who typically live in their own communities and refrain from many secular activities — the service will be open to all.
“Obviously our main customer is the ultra-Orthodox but a lot of parents don’t want their children to be exposed to these kinds of numbers,” said Itamar Harel, vice president of Bezeq’s residential customers division.
Israel’s mobile phone operators already offer similar services.
That’s largely due to the lack of cable infrastructure in those communities. With demand for cable TV so low, HOT, Israel’s cable provider, has not wired those communities and has been reluctant to do so even though they can now offer landline telephone services.
The service is targeted at the ultra-orthodox but will be open to anyone.