Friday, July 8, 2011
'Shabbat phones' for Netanyahu aides
Prime minister's bureau purchases kosher phones for religious aides, enabling communication on Jewish day of rest
A newly-purchased device will enable Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to his religious advisers during Shabbat.
Netanyahu's bureau employs the highest number of religious workers since Israel's establishments and most of his aides are observing Jews.
The prime minister has now found a way to communicate with them during Shabbat. His bureau has purchased 12 special phones allowing the parties to talk during Shabbat with no fear of desecration.
Among those who received the "Shabbat phones" are National Security Council head Yaakov Amidror, Bureau Chief Natan Eshel, Bureau manager Gil Shefer, political advisor Ron Dermer and Prime Minister's Office Director-General Eyal Gabay.
Some observing Mossad and Shin Bet men also received such phones. The devices are estimated to cost NIS 1,119 (roughly $330).
The Shabbat phone was created by the Zomet Institute which specializes in adapting medical and security equipment for Shabbat use. It utilizes a special technology: A special mechanism scans the phone for activity regularly. This way when the user presses buttons, picks up the phone or hangs up he is not directly activating the device. Actions are performed only when the scan picks up on them thus cancelling out the electrical aspect.
The phone is installed on a regular line and can be turned into a regular phone with one click.
"If the user realizes the call isn't justified or is not urgent we recommend that they ask the caller to postpone the call until after Shabbat," Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, Zomet Institute head said. "But if the phone has already been picked up, there is no problem, as the actual action of talking on an already open device does not constitute Shabbat desecration."