'Kosher' search engine launched in Israel
Rabbi-approved Koogle filters out sexual images, TV and other orthodox Jewish taboos
A new "kosher" search engine called Koogle has been launched for orthodox Jews living in Israel, allowing them to surf the net without compromising the religious standards set by their rabbis.
Koogle, which is a pun on search engine behemoth Google and a popular Jewish noodle dish, will filter out forbidden material, such as sexually explicit images or pictures of women deemed to be immodestly dressed, and restrict purchases of taboo items including television sets, which are banned in orthodox households.
Rabbis encouraged the development of Koogle to meet the needs of the country's religious communities and to discourage them from using internet cafes.
Amos Azizoff, who helped to set up Koogle, claimed the business directory alone, which lists everything from restaurants to bridal wear, was already enjoying 100,000 hits a month. He said Koogle was for adults and children alike.
"There is so much happening on the internet that isn't healthy and this search engine allows people to surf without pop-ups or anything that is inappropriate.
"There are lots of orthodox homes that don't have computers but for business purposes, or for people who want to be part of the 21st century, if you're going to have one the best way is to use one that filters the internet."
The search engine also has a facility that blocks online shopping during the Jewish Sabbath, which begins at sundown on Friday and ends at sunset on Saturday.
Azizoff said he recognised that the site would not appeal to everyone. "We have to be realistic. Just as you have orthodox Christians and orthodox Muslims, there are people who like to take the easy approach on life, right or wrong. Unfortunately that's our society. But there are different needs for different communities."
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