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Poker News | Gambling and the Law

Israel Seeks to Block Online Poker

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Again, it seems that online poker websites are being lumped into a category with pornography and violence-centered websites.

Israel’s Knesset member Amnon Cohen from the Orthodox Shas party has authored and introduced the “Internet porn bill” to automatically block online poker sites, gambling sites, and sex- and violence-oriented website unless a customer specifically requests that he or she be exempted. Cohen has gained strong support from Shas member Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and Communications Minister Ariel Attias. The bill has passed its first Knesset reading.

If the bill passes, internet service providers would be required to include filtering software for all new clients, as well as for existing clients, free of charge, and the filtering system would be imposed on all customers. Those who choose to opt out would have to verify that they pass the age requirement and submit a personal request to disable the software.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Cohen stated, “Instead of parents having to actively block their children from viewing hard-core pornography and violence, pornography enthusiasts will have to be active and make a single phone call.”

Opposition has come from a few members of Knesset.
Economic committee chairman Gilan Erdan, an outspoken critic of the bill, said, “The law will transform us into a type of Iran by giving the minister the authority to decide that the Shas Council of Torah Sages will determine the sites to be rejected and blocked – without any supervision or monitoring of its considerations by the Knesset.”

Within the coming months, the Knesset Economic Affairs Committee will be conducting a review of the bill and resubmit it to the plenum for final approval. It is expected to pass, at which time internet providers would have sixty days to comply or begin paying fines.

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