Israel Cracks Down on Porn

Israel Cracks Down on Porn
Michael Hayes
JERUSALEM — Internet porn may soon be unavailable in Israel if lawmakers from the ultra-Orthodox Shas party have their way; the group set fourth a two-pronged piece of legislation aimed at curbing online adult content in the country.

Knesset member Amnon Cohen, citing a concern for protecting children online, proposed a nationwide age verification system. Under the details of the plan, surfers would have to identify themselves using a combination of password and fingerprint before they could access adult material.

"I proposed this law to create a situation where these sites are blocked from the outset, and opening them will only be possible with a physical key that identifies the user," Cohen said.

How the fingerprint system would work remains unclear.

Knesset member Ya’akov Magari proposed the second prong of legislation, aimed at outlawing access to pornography from computers in government offices.

According to a report from Ynet, an Israeli news website, the impetus behind the law was a belief that pornography promotes violence against women.

"The webpages are liable to encourage sexual violence against women and even cause debasement and humiliation of women,” Magari said. “Therefore, surfing these pages must be forbidden in all government offices."

Though unrelated, the proposed law comes amid allegations by several female government employees of sexual harassment by Israel’s president Moshe Katsav.

In the meantime, Knesset member Zevulun Orlev has proposed a separate law that would prohibit mobile phone users from accessing pornography unless they first request access from their cellular providers.