Israeli anti-technology rabbi Amnon Yitzhak has defended himself after he was photographed using an iPhone, saying that he had special “heter”, or permission to do so.
Photos of the rabbi, which were circulating on Facebook and messaging system WhatsApp, show him in his car during “chol hamoed” days of Succot, wearing a striped robe and using what appears to be a black iPhone.
In a response posted on his website, entitled “a clarification to prevent slander”, the rabbi said that Rabbi Aharon Leib Shteinman, the most senior Ashkenazi Charedi rabbi in Israel, had given personal permission for Rabbi Yitzhak and his staff to use iPhones in their work of bringing people back to the Jewish faith.
The post ominously continued: “Anyone who casts suspicions on his Rav is as if he is casting suspicion on the divine presence of God.”
Rabbi Yitzhak’s use of the banned iPhone comes after influential rabbi Haim Kanievsky’s pronouncement last month in the Charedi media that anyone who owns an iPhone is under an obligation to burn it.
Rabbi Yitzhak last hit the headlines for organising a mass television-smashing ceremony in December last year, held outside the Israeli Broadcasting Authorities offices in Jerusalem.