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Israeli internet providers will have to automatically block sex, gambling and violence-oriented Websites, according to a bill passed in its first reading Wednesday at the Knesset plenum.

According to the bill, presented by MK Amnon Cohen of the ultra-Orthodox Shas party, any customer who does not explicitly ask to be allowed visit said sites will be automatically blocked from accessing them.

The coalition took steps to enlist a majority for the bill in an effort to placate Shas, which has been threatening to quit the coalition in recent weeks.

At the same time, the Economic Affairs Committee legal adviser said that he would find it difficult to defend Cohen's bill in the High Court of Justice in light of the refusal of Communications Minister Ariel Atias (Shas) to provide a list of sites to be blocked for the committee's approval

The Economic Affairs Committee meanwhile rejected a bill submitted Tuesday by MK Alex Miller (Yisrael Beiteinu), which aimed to force Internet providers to provide customers with a pamphlet instructing users on how to block Websites.

Last week, Shas MK Shlomo Benizri blamed gays for the earthquakes that have shaken the region in recent months, telling a Knesset plenum debate on local authorities' earthquake preparedness that government action on homosexuality would do much to prevent the tremors.