JERUSALEM — An influential ultra-Orthodox Israeli rabbi ordered his followers this week to burn their iPhones, the latest move in a campaign by the insular community to encourage its members to keep the outside world — and specifically the Internet — at bay.
The decree by Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, 84, came ahead of Judaism's holiest day, Yom Kippur, which begins Tuesday. It said that it was forbidden to own the smartphone, and those who already had one must burn theirs.
The religious Yated Neeman newspaper published the ban on its front page this week, as mainstream Israeli newspapers were gushing about Apple Inc.'s eagerly anticipated new smartphone, the iPhone 5.
Israel's growing ultra-Orthodox minority tenaciously guards its traditional way of life against the influence of the secular majority. Many shun TVs and computers to avoid images that break their standards of modesty and values.
The iPhone prohibition comes amid a push in recent months by ultra-religious Jewish leaders around the world to steer their flock away from the temptations of the Internet.