Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Obituary: Rav Yishayahu "Nitzan Or" Rotter, Founder of Rotter Net

Rabbi Yeshayahu Rotter z'l
Last night, Rav Yishayahu Rotter from Hafia, Israel died of cardiac arrest at the age of 59.

Known throughout the Israeli internet by his web moniker "Nitzan Or", Rav Rotter was responsible for one of the most influential media outlets on Israel's digital landscape over the past 15 years.

His son Noam founded "" at age 12, and Rav Rotter managed the site on a daily basis, as well as moderating and commenting on the extremely popular "News and Scoops" message forum on the website.

Garnering over 2 million hits a day, is one of Israel's most popular news sites. broke the monopoly of Israel's media by effectively allowing free information flow, reported by non-professional, "average" Israelis. Freedom of the Press at its finest, anyone can post and publish on, and it became home to thousands of Israelis wishing to find alternative sources to media stories, without the subjective agenda of the rest of Israel's web.

If 20 years ago Israelis waited for hours to find out the details of breaking news stories, on rotter net, you could get details within seconds and minutes. Every rocket launch towards Israel from Gaza is reported, every siren, every newsworthy event (well, there are less newsworthy stories as well, which get their authors negative ratings), is found in real time on, and the right/left, religious/secular debates rage on the forum.

Rav Rotter engaged everyone in debate, and was not ashamed to express his pro-Eretz Yisrael opinions.

Coming from a "Chareidi" background, Rav Rotter studied in the Ponevezh yeshiva in Bnei Brak and the Hebron Yeshiva in Givat Mordechai, Jerusalem.

He was an officer in the IDF, a PhD in Jewish Thought, a teacher in the Yavneh High School in Haifa, and an active member rabbi of Tzohar -- and he joyfully married over 1000 couples in Israel so that they could bypass the bureaucracy of the sometimes unfriendly formal Israeli Rabbinate.

Rav Rotter made his mark on the media in Israel, and was definitely one of the most influential individuals for improving freedom of the press over the past 2 decades.   The Muqata blog has translated hundreds of news scoops from over the past 7 years.

May his memory be a blessing.  We'll miss him.

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Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

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