The Shmooze

IDF Gets Text Savvy for Emergency Situations

By Nathan Jeffay

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Things not gr8. Go 2 shelters. Yes, it’s the Middle East SMS-style. The Israel Defense Forces has just started testing a new text message process for communicating emergency instructions to civilians. Citizens across Southern Israel have been receiving trial texts.

It’s a big step forward in emergency preparedness — especially given that Israelis are so cell phone crazy that there are more cell phones in use than there are citizens. But what about those Israelis who shun text messages as potentially immoral? That’s right — large parts of the Haredi public have so-called kosher phones, which have had text message functionality turned off. The main reason is that rabbis fear that texting is a perfect medium for flirting, and they are anti-flirting.

The Orthodox media is now asking what will happen to the Haredi public in terms of emergency readiness. Will it now be asked to choose between flirt-proof phones and safety?


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