Wednesday, July 6, 2011

In Orthodox word the fact that news is reported is important news


In the insular world of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel, the fact that the news is being reported is itself important news.

A decade ago, brawling between two ultra-Orthodox factions over real estate in Jerusalem would almost certainly not have been reported in the community's media. Neither would a bitter debate over ethnic segregation in a girls' school, or an incident in which a member of a Hasidic sect in New York attacked and badly burned a community dissident.

All of these stories have appeared in the past year, part of a flowering of journalism that is both driving and being driven by a gradual opening in this stringently conservative world.

The ultra-Orthodox are experiencing an unprecedented proliferation of Internet sites, radio stations, call-in news lines and newspapers increasingly independent of rabbinic control and willing to touch topics that might seem entirely mundane to an outsider but which, in the confines of this religious community, have long been taboo.

"It used to be that people were happy to live in their little caves, but now we all need to know what's going on everywhere. It's like air," said Nachman Tubul, a lanky, bearded 27-year-old who runs a wire service called News 24 out of a tiny storefront in Jerusalem. [...]

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