Contact Tracing App to Prevent Infection Spread Ineffective for Kosher Phones

A kosher cellphone. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

Israel and its leaders put up a front of making a herculean effort to cut off chains of infection and reducing the spread of the virus. But for months, they have been ignoring the information according to which the critical tracing applications are not effective for kosher cellphones, which are not connected in any way to social media networks.

This fact is known to those in charge of this project, but they are doing nothing to find a solution. Indirectly, not only are they abetting the accusations against the chareidi community, as a collective, they are also responsible for the relatively high number of confirmed cases in the chareidi sector who do not get messages to go into isolation, the way other citizens do.

It should be noted that already at the height of the first wave, there were people who knew about this ineffective measure for cellphones in the chareidi community. But instead of making an effort to find solutions, they buried the information even from the most senior officials. Hamodia has learned that over a prolonged period of time, the information was withheld from the former director general of the Health Ministry, Moshe Bar Siman-Tov.

The ineffectiveness of the program severely hobbles efforts at contact tracing, and cutting off infection chains. In many cases, those who need to go into isolation after exposure know nothing about it and continue their regular schedule – while infecting others. Some of those who need to go into isolation never hear anything, while others get messages very late in the game.

The biggest absurdity is that while baseless accusations are hurled collectively at the chareidi community that they do not obey the guidelines, the blame really lies with the state’s leaders who are not making plans to treat the issue in the chareidi sector, which would lower the infection rate, and of course obviate the need for lockdowns, roadblocks or other strict limitations that disrupt daily life.

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