IDF Developing Shabbos-Friendly Keyboard, Computer Screen


shabbos-computerArutz Shevah reports that the IDF Rabbinate is hard at work on the development of a special touch screen that would make it possible to use vital computer systems without violating Shabbos. The IDF magazine BaMachaneh reports that operational considerations mandate the use of computer systems like ‘Masua’ or ‘Sheder Cham 400′ during Shabbos. These systems inform their operators of the location of IDF units during operations and battles. Other systems, like the IDF’s medical information system, named CPR, must also be used on Shabbos.”The CPR system, for instance, serves medical personnel whenever a soldier walks into a clinic, and we cannot avoid using it on Shabbat,” explained Capt. Rabbi Ronen Aharon, Staff Officer for Halacha and Technology at the Rabbinate.

While halacha stipulates that the Shabbos can be violated for life-saving activity, the IDF Rabbinate has been searching for ways to cut down chillul Shabbos to a minimum.

The IDF Rabbinate has developed two options for Shabbos-friendly screens. One is a specially designed touch screen and another is an add-on that is connected to a regular screen and turns it into a touch screen, for all intents and purposes. There is no decision yet as to which system will be put into use.

Arutz Shevah also reports that another project, currently in its pilot phase, involves special Shabbos keyboards. Three prototype Shabbos keyboards have been put into experimental use in recent months, after being approved by the military’s Computer and Information Systems Center (MAMRAM) and Information Security Department. The Rabbinate is awaiting feedback from the soldiers who use them, in order to decide if they are preferable over the virtual keyboard/Shabbos mouse combination currently being used by the IDF.

According to Arutz Shevah, the IDF is also examining the possibility of changing the incandescent bulbs in the IDF’s communications equipment with LEDs (light emitting diodes), since turning on an incandescent light involves the actual lighting of a fire, which is assur Mideoraisah. An LED is activated by an electrical current – an act forbidden Miderabonon and not Min HaTorah, and thus more flexibly permitted in cases of dire necessity.

Rabbinate crews are also planning to install special electrical switches that will enable opening of electrical gates on Shabbos in IDF bases that use them. The device is currently being tested at five entrances to IDF bases, including at Tzerifin Base.

The Shabbos-friendly switch is one of the Rabbinate’s earliest developments. It also saves the IDF money, because manufacturing it inside the IDF is cheaper than buying it outside the army.

The internal mechanics and electronics of the Shabbos mouse, which was developed by the Tzomet Institute for Halacha and Technology, employ the concept of ‘grama,’ which allows indirectly causing certain events to take place on Shabbos, without direct action.

{Arutz Sheva/Yair Israel}


  1. We checked many of TZOMET’s devices and found them lacking in conformance to the accepted Halacha. The First time was some 20+ years ago at an RCA convention. Tzomet’s engineer was to demonstrate an alarm for an ???? ???? that the claimed is permitted on Shabbos kodesh. After I discussed with him the electronics, I explained to him that his explanation is an imposibility in electronics but works on a delay & grama at best. ???”? ?’ ??? ????????? in his great wisdom wrote ??? ???? ????? ?? it may be permitted. I asked this engineer to take it to ???”? ?’ ???? ???? because would not approve it, as he was an expert in electronics. The Star-k’s Shabbos ovens also work with Gramas, and all of the Poiskim (besides reb Moshe Heineman) recently said it is Ossur to use.