Tzvi Fishman
Torah Commentator, Novelist, and Film Director

Israel’s #1 Public Enemy

In my opinion, the worst enemy of the Jewish People today is not the danger from Teheran, nor the missiles in Gaza which can strike Tel Aviv, nor the left-wing’s obsession to give Biblical Israel away to the Arabs and change the country into a Hebrew-speaking Cannes; nor the anti-Semitism that festers around the world – today, the worst enemy of the Jewish People is the Internet, or more specifically, the pornography which lurks everywhere on the web.

According to some surveys, eighty percent of the people reading this essay are likely to click on to some immodest website before completing their viewing session. It doesn’t matter if they are single or married, college professors or rabbis, men or women, the temptations of the Internet are only an instant click away. Among young people, the problem has become a plague. With mom and dad away at work all day, if there isn’t a reliable anti-porn filter on the computer, kids are free to view whatever they like. Even if parents are home, many kids have their own computers in their rooms, and, believe me, they aren’t doing “homework” for hours on end. And even if they don’t have their own laptops, today’s run-of-the-mill cell phones have “wi-fi” reception which allows junior to pick up all the smut in the air without having an official net server. And the problem isn’t unique to the kids. Ladies, if you find your husband disappearing into his offices at home for hours on end, chances are he isn’t just reading the news. For several years now, I have run a website dealing with Internet dangers, and hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive a heartbreaking email from a husband or wife detailing how an addiction to Internet pornography has destroyed the home and marriage.   

"The mouse made me do it!"

In Israel, like a deadly spreading virus, the epidemic is affecting the religious and non-religious alike. In the national religious camp, usually considered far more tolerant than the Ultra Orthodox, many religious high schools have taken the step to ban “wi-fi” cell phones on their campus. And many yeshivas are now admitting that a worrisome drop in student scholarship can be attributed to unholy Internet habits.

Once upon a time, in order to acquire a girlie magazine, a kid had to go through a big hassle of stealing it from the drugstore, or slipping it out of his father’s dresser, with the danger of getting caught, but today, all the smut in the world can be found in any home on the web. For the holy Jewish Nation, this is a disaster. Nothing severs a person more from spiritual sensitivity than exposure to pornography and sexual sin. Our Talmudic Sages tell us that G-d hates licentiousness more than anything else. Throughout our history, our enemies knew this and sought to weaken our connection to G-d by leading us into sexual sin. This was the strategy of Potifar’s wife, of Amalek, of Bilaam and Midian, and the Greeks, to name just a few.             

This awareness helps us understand how important it is for everyone to have a solid filter on his computer. A person who surfs the turbulent sea of the web without a anti-porn filter is transgressing several Torah prohibitions, including guarding oneself from every evil thing, meaning sexual fantasies; and the commandment not to stray after the heart and the eyes. The problem, my friends, is not limited to immodest websites. Anyone who doesn’t have a filter and allows photographs to freely appear during his facebook session is playing with fire. While some people insist that facebook is harmless, they are very mistaken. There are immodest pictures all over its pages, and it takes the strength of Yosef not to fall prey to them – not to mention the hard core pornography that any curious facebook explorer can find. So, if you want to guard your soul, and the healthy minds and futures of your children, download a filter and give the code to your wife, or have a friend choose a code for you, so that you won’t be tempted. And don’t think it won’t happen to you. If it hasn’t happened already, you and your family can become another tragic victim in an ever-rising scale of statistics that shows that the temptations and snares of the Internet are very real and present dangers to every Jewish home.   


About the Author
Before making Aliyah in 1984, Tzvi Fishman taught Creative Writing at the NYU School of the Arts. He has published nearly twenty novels and books on a wide range of Jewish themes, available at Amazon Books and the website. He is the recipient of the Israel Ministry of Education Award for Creativity and Jewish Culture. Recently, he produced and directed the feature film, “Stories of Rebbe Nachman” starring Israel’s popular actor, Yehuda Barkan. Presently, he is working on Volume Four of the Tevye in the Promised Land Series.