Several hundred Chasidic men protested outside a Monsey cell phone store on Friday, claiming that the store, which is owned and operated by Orthodox Jews, is selling smartphones to young religious men, whose rabbis their phones from having internet access.
The protesters included members of the anti-Israel groups Torah Jewry and Neturei Karta, said the store owner.
“America is a great democracy that allows freedom of speech, including the freedom to protest peacefully,” storemanager Pinchas Blau told Lohud “I embrace this concept and practice as a patriotic American.”
“The dangers of unfiltered and unfettered access to the internet, especially for children, is well-documented by researchers and professionals. “
“I strongly recommend and refer our customers to a community-based volunteer organization … which will install filters free of charge,” Blau told Lohud.
Monsey resident Tzali Fortgang riled up the anti-Israel crowd when he unfolded a large Israeli flag to protest the protesters, who are opposed to the state of Israel.
“We all agree the Internet can be very dangerous if it’s used the wrong way,” Fortgang told Lohud “It can kill a child forever. Next door, they sell bleach and ammonia, which can kill a child if misused.”
The smart thing to do is not to ban smartphones but to educate people, he stressed.
“If they can protest, I can raise the flag of Israel,” Fortgang said. “We all have that freedom in America.”
Fortgang is a pro-Israel activists and member of Chai Riders, a Jewish motorcycle club that participates annually in the Israeli Day Parade. Recently JBN featured Fortgang counter protesting an anti-Israel Neturei Karta protester by waving a huge Israeli flag next to him. Eventually the protester gave up and left but was escorted by Fortgang who waved the Israeli flag all the way behind him.