Is a Kosher Phone Also Halal?
Here's the latest story in the commerce-triumphs-over-politics subgenre of Middle East reporting: The Israeli cell phone company MIRS recently started offering a stripped-down, restricted mobile phone for ultra-Orthodox Jews that does not allow Internet access or text messaging and that blocks "more than 10,000 numbers for phone sex, dating services and other offerings" that community leaders consider inappropriate. The "kosher phone" has attracted inquiries from Arab cell phone providers interested in catering to the demands of conservative Muslims who, like the heredim, want to be connected but not too connected. "They have sought information from MIRS via envoys from Jordan," A.P. reports. If it's not exactly heartwarming that a shared interest in cultural isolation can bring Muslims and Jews together, it is slightly more encouraging than the purchase of Israeli flags from Israeli suppliers to be burned at anti-Israel demonstrations.
[Thanks to Chaim Katz for the link.]