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Orthodox Knesset Member Blocks Planned Horoscope-by-phone Service

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The Communications Ministry slipped up last week when a representative failed to do his homework before asking the Knesset Finance Committee to authorize a new telephone service.

The representative, proposing a new information-for-fee service, suggested a caller could get a horoscope over the phone. What the agent failed to note was that one of the two panel members present was an Orthodox Jew whose interest was more Torah than tarot.

Ministry representative Avi Levy asked the committee chairman, Moshe Ze’ev Feldman of Agudat Yisrael, and Dan Tichon of Likud for formal approval to charge fees for a proposed dial 056 service.

When Feldman said he did not understand what such a service was, Levy explained that a subscriber could, for example, dial up his horoscope for the day. He did not mention he could also phone in for a daily Talmud lesson.

Feldman cut him short. Getting horoscopes will corrupt the souls of Jewish children, the Agudah minister ruled.

Nor was Feldman impressed when Levy informed him that Communications Minister Rafael Pinhasi of the rival Shas party had already approved the service.

Feldman delayed indefinitely the beginning of the new Bezek Corp. service, saying he would not approve the rates until he had received an explanation of the criteria for allowing entrepreneurs to offer information for a fee over the phone.

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