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Israeli Leaders Plan Online Banking Blackout During Holy Days

Israel Flag on Computer Despite its media portrayal (deserved or not) as a constant war zone, few nations blend the ancient and the advanced as seamlessly as Israel. According to the Associated Press, though, certain members of the Israeli government hope to implement a divisive plan that could significantly strain relations between the country's religious and secular groups.

Many adherents to Judaism practice Sabbath rituals by recognizing a weekly day of rest, which involves abstaining from work, operating a motor vehicle, and using electricity and technology. Certain Orthodox members of the Israeli Cabinet reportedly wish to levy those restrictions on all members of the population by executing a ban on certain online payments and services during the Sabbath and various holy days.

The AP reports, "the interior, health and religious affairs ministries -- all controlled by ultra-Orthodox parties -- plan a holy day payment blackout." Many religious leaders urge their followers to abstain from technology during specific periods, but enforcing universal bans seems purposefully antagonistic. Israel welcomes millions of tourists every year, hosts thousands of international and itinerant workers, and is home to significant holy sites for Christians, Jews and Muslims. Forcing the traditions of a few on many seems unduly excessive, and should only attract even more unneeded and undesirable attention to an already embattled region.

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