Translated (word for word) from the Arutz 7 Hebrew Internet site:
The local Shinui (Change) party in Tel Aviv, Ron Levintal, has suggested to the Tel-Aviv Municipalities Name Committee, to name a street in Tel Aviv under the name of Abie Nathan, the owner of the "pirate radio station" Voice of Peace.
Levintal suggests in his proposal, that a street be named after Nathan, whilst he is still alive, like was done for the likes of Teddy Kolleck (ex-mayor of Jerusalem), Shlomo Lahat (e -mayor of Tel-Aviv) and Shimon Peres.
Levintal adds and underlines Abie Nathans contribution to society, and especially to Tel-Aviv. It is an emotional and important tribute, that is to be carried out as soon as possible, because of the rapidly failing health of Nathan.
The Arutz 7 article continues ....
There is no mention in Levintal's proposal that mentions the "legality" of the Voice Of Peace's broadcasts, even though some of them were broadcast from the Tel-Aviv Marina, and a building in Tel Aviv. Broadcasts went out, even though the VOP management promised that broadcasts were coming from International Waters.
It must be mentioned that tomorrow, the court will decide the sentences of the Arutz 7 staff, that have been guilty of illegal broadcasting. The Sentences will be handed down at 14.30 tomorrow ( 29/12 ) in a Jerusalem
I feel I must add something here. First of all, I certainly agree that Abie deserves a street named after him. The Voice of Peace was only a drop in the ocean (forgive
the pun!) of his activities. He was active in such places as Biafra, India, and with the poor here in Israel.
The VOP never claimed to be broadcasting from International waters. Their infamous jingle sang out "From somewhere in the Mediterranean ...." The VOP never broadcast from the T.A Marina, and there were some broadcasts made from Tel-Aviv, but they were relayed to the ship, and rebroadcast to Israel from the ship.
From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:
Demonstration in Support of A7 Defendants
11:25 Dec 26, '03 / 1 Tevet 5764
(IsraelNN.com) The Women in Green (WiG) organization will be holding a demonstration on behalf of the Arutz-7 defendants who are being sentenced on Monday, 29 December.
The demonstration will coincide with the sentencing hearing, at 13:30 outside the Jerusalem Magistrates Court located in the Russian Compound in the downtown capital.
The WiG media release states, “The judge who found the defendants guilty of violating the criminal law, will be sentencing the respective defendants at that time and place.
”Arutz 7 has been the major source of objective news and
commentary for the majority of Israeli citizens for many years. This large majority of Jews living in Israel had found that they could not get reliable news coverage from the major radio and television stations, whose views were those of a minority of the Jewish People. Unfortunately, it is this minority which controls the major means of communication in Israel.
”We, who have faithfully listened to the broadcasts of Arutz 7 radio
for many years, proclaim that we citizens of Israel are just as guilty as the defendants in the Arutz 7 case. We proclaim that we also should have been charged and punished along with these defendants, who selflessly supplied us with objective news and the commentary we needed to hear.
“We also say to the defendants in the Arutz 7 case: You are our
courageous heroes and we thank you for supplying us with the relevant news and commentary for the past 15 years. You have given us responsible free speech, and supplied us with the kind of views and Jewish orientation of our tradition and heritage, which resulted in pride in ourselves and love of our Country.”
Arutz-7 Not Yet Licensed
16:40 Dec 28, '03 / 3 Tevet 5764
Contrary to headlines on other Israeli media outlets, the Cabinet did not "legalize Arutz-7" today (Sunday). It rather approved legislation, which must still be passed in the Knesset, to grant national radio station licenses for designated public sectors. Arutz-7 will be eligible to take part in the public tenders for the new stations. Only Interior Minister Avraham Poraz of Shinui objected to the proposal, saying that it was unfair to the existing regional radio stations.
The proposal, raised by Ehud Olmert in his capacity as Communications Minister, stipulates that three special-interest radio stations will be established for "various special public sectors." The press release issued today by the Ministry of Communications does not mention Arutz-7 or any other station, but rather states that the stations will be of "unique characteristics, such as language or culture, or one that is chiefly aimed for a particular sector within the populace... The government will determine the types of stations, giving consideration to the needs of the population sectors, and will provide expression for various sectors that today do not have such in the existing media."
Arutz-7 hopes both that one of the designated stations will be for "Judea, Samaria and Gaza" or the like, and that it will win the tender for that slot.
Arutz-7 stopped broadcasting two months ago after ten of its broadcasters and directors were found guilty of operating an unlicensed radio station. The conviction was handed down despite the fact that the station had spent millions of dollars on purchasing and operating a ship from which to broadcast outside of Israel's territorial waters. In addition, its hundreds of thousands of listeners were an indication of the public's acute need for its broadcasts.
The "Arutz-7 Ten" will be sentenced tomorrow (Monday) in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court. The prosecution has asked for active jail terms for up to four of the defendants, as well as hundreds of thousands of shekels' worth of fines for each of several of them. No one has ever been jailed in Israel for operating a radio station without a license.
Women in Green and other grass-roots organizations will be demonstrating outside the Jerusalem Magistrates Courthouse in the Russian Compound in downtown Jerusalem tomorrow at 1:30 PM on behalf of Arutz-7. The organizers wrote to the defendants, "You are our courageous heroes, and we thank you for supplying us with the relevant news and commentary for the past 15 years. You have given us responsible free speech, and supplied us with the kind of views and Jewish orientation of our tradition and heritage that resulted in pride in ourselves and love of our
Responses To Cabinet Decision on Arutz-7
20:12 Dec 28, '03 / 3 Tevet 5764
Earlier today a new law which paves the way for restoration of Arutz-7’s broadcasts received cabinet approval. The law calls for a tender to allow for the operation of national radio stations which will serve specific sectors of the population. Minister Ehud Olmert (Likud) who introduced the law said, "We are hopeful that Arutz-7 will win the bid." The decision has elicited many responses from across the political spectrum.
Most of the reactions appear to be based on misinformation from most of Israel’s media sources that indicates Arutz-7 has been granted a license to resume broadcasting. However, this is not the case.
The Yesha Council welcomed the cabinet decision but quickly added this will not buy silence in the matter of the planned uprooting of Yesha (Judea, Samaria & Gaza) communities.
MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) says he will appeal to the Supreme Court to challenge the government decision. The decision “tramples upon the law of government tenders. It is unacceptable that the government certified Arutz-7 at a time the court has convicted its personnel and is about to pass judgment. To my sorrow, there are criminals with a strong government lobby.”
MK Eli Yishai (Shas) praised the cabinet decision, calling for a similar move for the many Shas affiliated “holy stations” that broadcast without authorization around the country. Yishai called for an end to the “methodical discrimination” against Shas.
MK Haim Oron (Meretz), who in the past turned to the Supreme Court to prevent the implementation of a law passed by the Knesset to license Arutz-7, announced he may turn to the Court once again. “No legal system can tolerate granting a prize to diligent law breaking as was done by this government. The decision is the ultimate deal-making on the eve of the passing of the state budget and a portion of the deal between the government and the law breakers from the Yesha Council”.
MK Ofir Pines (Labor) said, ”The government certifies the rodent and makes a mockery of the law. The station operated illegally for seven years and the opposition will do everything possible to prevent the new law from passing the Knesset.”
Minister Effie Eitam (NRP) praised the government’s decision. “The government today arrived at a correct decision, providing an answer to hundreds of thousands of citizens and lovers of the Land and Torah of Israel, and it is better late than never at all.”
Public Service For Ketzaleh, Tzur and Mrs. Melamed
18:30 Dec 29, '03 / 4 Tevet 5764
Justice Yoram Noam of the Jerusalem Magistrates Court handed down this afternoon the sentences of the ten Arutz-7 directors, broadcasters, and employees who were convicted of operating an illegal radio station. Four defendants will perform community service for 3-6 months each. The ten defendants were also fined between 20,000 and 50,000 shekels each, in addition to the fine imposed on Arutz-7 to the tune of 450,000 shekels. The judge noted that the fines and/or community service can be served in the form of prison sentences.
Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh - indefatigable Executive-Director of Arutz-7 and Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions, wounded as an IDF officer during the Yom Kippur War and bound to a wheelchair for months afterwards, a founding member of the community of Beit El - was sentenced to a six-month term, commutable to public service, as well as a fine of 50,000 shekels and a suspended sentence of six months. On his way out of the courtroom, Ketzaleh said, "All my life I have been doing public service work. Neither would I have been afraid of actual jail time; I would have been able to study Torah there. The most important thing is the preservation of freedom of speech." He said that Arutz-7 would appeal the "unprecedentedly stiff fines," and the State Prosecution, as well, has said it will appeal.
Arutz-7 Directors Mrs. Shulamit Melamed and Yoel Tzur, and engineer Ya'ir Meir, were each sentenced to three months in prison, also executable in the form of public service. They were fined between 25,000 - 30,000 shekels each.
The seven other defendants were sentenced to pay fines and/or serve suspended sentences. They are:
Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed, Rabbi of Beit El since its inception in 1977, Dean of Yeshivat Beit El and Beit El Yeshiva Center Institutions, leading member of the Yesha Council of Rabbis, and co-founder of Arutz-7;
Haggai Segal, Arutz-7 News Director;
Gidi Sharon, veteran music broadcaster;
David Shapira, broadcaster and director of Arutz-7's French department;
Adir Zik, veteran fiery nationalist broadcaster;
Sha'ul Avni, captain of Arutz-7's Eretz HaTzvi ship.
The three broadcasters received four-month suspended sentences, as well as fines of 20,000 shekels each. Rabbi Melamed received the same sentence, though his fine was for 25,000 shekels. News Director Haggai Segal was sentenced to a six-month suspended term and a fine of 30,000 shekels. The ship's captain Sha'ul Avni was sentenced to a three-month suspended term and a fine of 20,000 shekels.
Justice Arnon noted today that he took into account the fact that as soon as the conviction was handed down, Arutz-7 ceased its broadcasts and sold the ship from which the broadcasts emanated. He further said that Arutz-7 consistently paid royalties, and noted that there was no proof that Arutz-7 ever interfered with air-traffic communications. "The fact that the government did not enforce the law against the station over the course of many years," he stated, "gave its operators the impression that their sin was not grave - especially when important public figures, including MKs and ministers, were interviewed on the station."
Some 3,000 fans of Arutz-7, including several Knesset Members organized by MK Uri Ariel (National Union), demonstrated outside the courtroom prior to the sentencing. "No to Shutting Mouths!" was the theme. Among the participants were also Rabbi Dov Lior of the Yesha Rabbinical Forum and Tourism Minister Benny Elon. Ariel said, "Arutz-7 is the mouthpiece of a very large public sector, and its silencing is a grave blow at the right to freedom of speech."
The Arutz-7 management has consistently denied the accusations against it. Many Arutz-7 listeners continue to enjoy the station's broadcasts via the internet and over regular phone lines. One of Israel's leading internet providers is now offering special deals for internet connectivity tailored to the Arutz-7 listening public. For example, one deal for families that don't want exposure to the internet enables tuning into the webcast using a computer with no screen.
In other Arutz Sheva news, the Arutz Sheva Land of Israel Mission arrived in Israel yesterday. The English-speaking participants will depart from the Kings Hotel in Jerusalem at 8:30 tomorrow morning to embark on a day tour of the studios of Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio and the surrounding area including Bet El and Shilo. Individuals who wish to join the day tour may register by calling Moshe (02) 970-9804.
"Heroes Who Saved Israel´s Honor"
19:25 Dec 29, '03 / 4 Tevet 5764
Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Hevron Jewish Community with a weekly "column" on Arutz-7, delivered a moving public statement after the sentence was handed down:
Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Hevron Jewish Community who spoke regularly on Arutz-7, delivered a moving public statement after the sentence was handed down: "This group of defendants saved the honor of the Nation of Israel, and instead of being brought to trial, they should have been on their way to the President's Home to receive the Israel Prize. They are like an air-freshener, purifying the media air that is all but conquered and polluted by the left side of the political spectrum. No punishment will break them, and they will continue, with G-d's help, to work for the good of the Jewish people... We here today who escorted them to the courthouse represent the hundreds of thousands of Arutz-7's loyal listeners."
Asked afterwards about the sentences, Arnon said, "I spoke with legal experts, and they said that these sentences are not at all light. True, they won't be going to jail, and for this we are grateful, but they were sentenced to months in prison that can be commuted to public service - whoever heard of such a thing for actions of this type? The fines, too, are very heavy, and we should not make light of this."
Haggai Segal said afterwards, "The real punishment was the trial itself, which lasted almost six years... The sentences were not light; a 30,000 shekel fine for a reporter whose only sin is broadcasting the public voice is not light."
Quote Of The Week: Labor MK on Arutz-7
18:59 Dec 30, '03 / 5 Tevet 5764
"With your permission, in order to dispel some of the tension, I would just like to mention that when I inherited the Volvo of my predecessor, Former [Knesset] Speaker Dov Shilansky [of the Likud], every pre-programmed button that I pushed on the car radio was programmed to Arutz-7."
- Knesset Speaker Shevach Weiss, of the Labor Party, during a Knesset session regarding Arutz-7 on July 17, 1996
Ketzaleh: "We Will Continue To Grow And Speak The Truth"
18:16 Dec 30, '03 / 5 Tevet 5764
"Instead of being on trial, Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife Shulamit, and the national hero Yoel Tzur, should have been received the Israel Prize for their holy work." So says Arutz-7's Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh.
Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh, spoke with Arutz-7 this morning, following the sentencing yesterday of the "Arutz-7 Ten." Fines of hundreds of thousands of shekels, and several months of community service for Ketzaleh, Yoel Tzur, and Shulamit Melamed, were levied upon the defendants for having operated the Arutz-7 radio station - for the benefit of its hundreds of thousands of listeners - without a license.
Despite lighter sentences than had been feared, "I am not happy with the conviction, the sentences, or the entire trial itself," Ketzaleh said. "Instead of being on trial, Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife Shulamit, and the national hero Yoel Tzur, should have been brought to the President's Home to receive the Israel Prize for their holy work, and for the cultural revolution they have carried out here... The trial was not based on hard evidence but rather on intuition and feelings that would not have withstood an objective test anywhere else."
Ketzaleh said that he is considering an appeal of both the conviction and the harsh sentences, "although we have to keep in mind the makeup of the judicial system, and thus our slim chances to win. For instance, when we [Arutz-7] sued columnist Ya'ir Lapid, son of Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, for having written that we did not pay royalties to the musicians - we won, and he had to pay us 70,000 shekels in fines - at one point, his lawyer said to us, 'But you murdered Rabin!' I saw that the judge did not react, so I turned to him and said, 'Your Honor, will you let that stand?' - and his response was, 'Stop with the demagoguery and just answer the question.' Do you hear? I should answer the accusation that I killed Rabin... This is the type of atmosphere. In addition, in yesterday's session, the judge proudly said that on the day he delivered his ruling convicting us, 'the voice of Arutz-7 was silenced.' This, he feels, is his great accomplishment: the silencing of Arutz-7. So you see the atmosphere in the courts...
"The only thing is that Arutz-7 was not silenced, it continues to broadcast over the internet and over the phone - although hundreds of thousands of listeners throughout the country still can't hear us...
"The atmosphere in the cultural and media communities, too, was hostile. The news reports on the day before our sentencing repeatedly emphasized that we were facing severe sentences of 3-4 years or more in jail, and fines of up to three million shekels - they purposely fired up the atmosphere. Similarly, not one professor, author or media personality stood up against this blow to the freedom of speech and to the closing of a radio station. The media world, unfortunately, is one of lies. They don't care about freedom of speech, but only about freedom for the Palestinians and uprooting the Jewish and Land-of-Israel character of the country."
In reference to the Cabinet decision of this week to establish three new national radio stations and the possibility that Arutz-7 could submit a bid for the "Yesha" slot, Ketzaleh said,
"I don't think that Yoel Tzur, Shulamit Melamed, and myself - people who were just convicted - will go for this tender, since that might enable certain elements to disqualify us. But there are other capable people who are very close to Arutz-7 who can do so instead. The bottom line is that no one will be able to stop our broadcasts - even [left-wing Labor MK] Avraham Burg has said that there are people who simply don't want to listen to the public radio - nor those of anyone else, and people will just have to be masters over themselves not to watch or listen to things that they are [Halakhically] not allowed to... Thousands of people are already signing onto our special internet service, with or without a screen, so that they can hear us 24 hours a day...
"It will take a long while before the Cabinet decision becomes a reality for us. They have to first decide which audiences the stations will target, and whether Yesha will be one of them, and then they have to decide if Arutz-7 can participate and with which people, and then we have to see if Arutz-7 wins, and there will be court appeals and the like... But we have to have faith. Rabbi Melamed has always taught us that from every negative thing we reap gain. We are men of faith and we adhere to Hashem and to those who teach His Torah. Arutz-7 will continue to grow, with radio and internet and our newspaper [B'Sheva] and soon television, and soon we will hold the Jerusalem Conference [see below] with Senators, ministers, and other important public figures, and we will grow and continue to provide the truth for the people of Israel."
Arutz 7 - the Community Service has already been Done
18:48 Dec 30, '03 / 5 Tevet 5764
(IsraelNN.com) Following the sentencing on Monday of the Arutz-7 defendants, the following statement to the press was released by the Professors for a Strong Israel organization.
“Following the sentences of community service and the fines imposed on the operators of Arutz 7 radio, Professors for a Strong Israel again expresses its support for their struggle for Radio Free Israel.
“We point out that their sentences of community service have already been served many times over. For many years, the station broadcast courageously the news and views that were suppressed by the "state" media in Israel. The station's absence from the airwaves in the past few months has left the majority of the citizens without an organ that reflects their opinions.
“We call on the Prime Minister and the government to press forward with legislation to enable Arutz 7 to return to its essential function, serving the entire public (on both sides of the "Green Line") in the interest of free speech and democracy.
From the Haaretz
Arutz Sheva staff given jail, fines
By Yuval Yoaz
The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court yesterday handed down jail sentences ranging from three to six months against four former managers of the Arutz Sheva pirate radio station. The four were also slapped with fines of thousands of shekels each.
Considering the many years during which the station's managers, broadcasters and employees broke the law that forbids operating a radio station without a license, coupled with the huge sums of money earned by the station from advertising revenues, the punishments handed down were light.
State Prosecutor Edna Arbel plans to appeal the lightness of the sentences, notably that of Katz, Israel Radio reported.
When the deputy president of the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, Judge Yoram Noam, entered the court yesterday afternoon, the first thing he requested, before handing down his sentences, was to shut the window. While the 10 defendants in the case waited to hear their fate after a trial that lasted five years, hundreds of right-wingers rallied outside the court building, singing songs, making speeches, and handing out stickers and T-shirts with the pirate station's logo.
"The actions of the defendants are serious first and foremost in light of the essence of the offenses and the extent of the broadcasts," Judge Noam wrote in his sentencing. "We are not dealing here with a lone transmission or a local station. Another serious aspect was the attempt to conceal the site of the broadcasts and to obstruct the investigation."
Yaakov Katz, one of the station's top managers, who was also convicted of perjury, was handed a six-month prison sentence, a six-month suspended sentence and a fine of NIS 50,000. Katz submitted two false affidavits to the High Court of Justice, including one that claimed the station was not broadcasting from a land-based studio, even though some of the station's broadcasts emanated from the West Bank settlement of Beit El.
"The defendant unabashedly exploited the processes at the High Court of Justice, and won an injunction of some two months based on the false affidavits," the judge wrote of Katz.
Yoel Tzur, one of the station's directors, was handed a three-month sentence, plus a six-month suspended sentence, as well as a NIS 30,000 fine.
Rabbi Zalman Melamed, another station director, was handed a four-month suspended sentence and NIS 25,000 fine. His wife Shulamit Melamed, the programming manager, received a three-month sentence, along with a six-month suspended sentence and NIS 25,000 fine.
Yair Meir, who provided technical services to the station, received three-month in prison, a six-month suspended sentence and a NIS 30,000 fine.
Head of the station's news desk, Haggai Segal, received a six-month suspended sentence and a NIS 30,000 fine. On leaving the court, Segal said that "there would have been no need for this trial had the authorities allowed anyone to broadcast, and had not handed out permits according to political considerations."
Broadcaster Adir Zik received a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 20,000 fine. Another broadcaster, Gideon Sharon, was handed a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 20,000 fine.
The parole service will be asked to recommend in February whether the jail sentences can be commuted to community service.
Defense attorneys argued that the station's managers had "good and legitimate" intentions even if they broke the law. "The punishment should be proportionate," they said. "They didn't want to do any harm and weren't motivated by profits, and even paid royalties."
The defense team had also asked the court to take into consideration what it termed "selective enforcement" against Arutz Sheva.
According to this argument, the authorities only began to clamp down on pirate broadcasts after Abie Nathan's Voice of Peace radio station stopped broadcasting in 1993.
Labor MK Eitan Cabel said he was pleased that the court determined once and for all that Arutz Sheva was illegal, and that even settlers, with their strong lobby, are not above the law.
Government approves bill proposal legalizing Arutz 7 radio broadcasts
By Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondent
The government on Sunday approved a bill legalizing Arutz 7 radio broadcasts, the settlers' radio station. Industry and Trade Minister Ehud Olmert raised the issue in coordination with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
The bill, formulated over the past few months, states that the government will be able to establish a designated radio channel that will cater for different sectors in society, such as new immigrants and religious Jews.
The High Court of Justice in March 2002 ruled unanimously that the amendment to the Bezeq Law that enabled Arutz 7, the right-wing pirate radio station, to broadcast, is illegal since it violates the Basic Law on Freedom of Occupation.
Minister from all parties supported the bill, except for Shinui ministers, most of whom abstained. Interior Minister Avraham Poraz was the only minister who objected to the bill proposal. "Legalizing Arutz 7 will be a trophy for delinquency and for those who have broken the law for years," Poraz said, and added that when he was chairman of the Knesset Economics Committee, he offered Arutz 7 managers several solution, which they turned down.
Shas chairman Eli Yishai congratulated the government decision, but attacked the government ministry for discriminating against other religious-oriented radio channels and called on the Communications Ministry to take action regarding these channels.
Labor MK Ophir Pines vowed that the opposition would make every effort to prevent the Knesset from passing the law, which would legalize a radio channel that has been operation illegally for seven
the Jerusalem Post:
Arutz Sheva senior personnel sentenced
Etgar Lefkovits Dec. 29, 2003
Four senior managers of the Arutz Sheva pirate radio station were sentenced Monday by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to three to six months in prison, and fined tens of thousands of shekels each for broadcasting illegally, with the defendants allowed to do community service instead of the prison time. The four were part of a group of 10 station managers, directors, and employees found guilty in the same court two months ago for transmitting from a ship within Israeli territorial waters and from the West Bank from 1995 to 1998 without the required permits. Though the prosecution requested prison time as well as stiff fines for the four, the court ruled that the defendants may carry out community service instead. The defendants had faced up to three years in prison. While defense attorneys voiced their happiness over the "satisfactory
punishment" meted out by the court, the State Attorney's Office said Monday that it was considering an appeal in the case, and the Justice Ministry asking the court to temporarily stay the sentencing, pending their decision.
The sentencing came just one day after the government approved a bill that could legalize the station in the future. The station, which served as the voice of the ideological Right for 15 years, went off the air hours after the October 20 court conviction, although it continues to operate its Hebrew and English Web sites. Ya'acov Katz, one of the station's top managers, who was also convicted of perjury, was given a six-month prison sentence, a six-month suspended sentence, and was fined NIS 50,000. Katz had submitted two false affidavits to the High Court of Justice, in which he said the station broadcast froma ship outside Israel's territorial waters, even though some of the
station's broadcasts came from the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Yoel Tzur, one of the station's directors, was given a three-month sentence, plus a six-month suspended sentence, and a NIS 30,000 fine. Rabbi Zalman Melamed, another station director, was given a four-month suspended sentence and a NIS 25,000 fine. His wife, Shulamit Melamed, the programming manager, received a three-month sentence, along with a six-month extended sentence and a NIS 25,000 fine. Yair Meir, who provided technical services to the station, received three months in prison, a six-month suspended sentence, and a NIS 30,000 fine. As the sentences were being handed down, several hundred protesters held a demonstration outside the courtroom, singing and waving placards that read "Let Arutz Sheva speak." At the beginning of the hearing, Justice Yoram Noam asked that the window in the packed courtroom be closed so that the sentencing could be read without disruption from the protesters. Also sentenced Monday was the head of the station's news desk, Haggai Segal, who received a six-month suspended sentence and a NIS 30,000 fine. Upon leaving the court, Segal said that "there would be no need for this trial had the authorities allowed anyone to broadcast, and did not hand out permits according to political standings." The court also sentenced three station broadcasters each to four-month suspended sentences, and gave two of them fines of NIS 20,000 to NIS 25,000.
Shaul Avni, the captain of the boat from which transmissions were made, was given a three-month suspended sentence, and fined NIS 20,000. Defense attorneys argued that the station's managers had "good and legitimate" intentions even if they broke the law. The defense team had also asked the court to take into consideration what
it termed "selective enforcement" against Arutz Sheva, noting that the authorities only began to clamp down on pirate broadcasts after Abie Nathan's Voice of Peace radio station stopped broadcasting in 1993. The government-approved bill, which, if realized, could legalize the pirate settler station, states that the government will establish three new radio stations that will cater to specialized sectors of society, such as new immigrants and haredim. The proposal stipulates that one of the three stations would be given to the 230,000 Israelis living in the West Bank and Gaza; Arutz Sheva would be allowed to participate in such a tender. "What is important is that we renew our radio broadcasts," said one of the convicted broadcasters, Adir Zik, after the sentencing, while Melamed said it was "unacceptable" for a media outlet to be "silenced."
Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who filed the complaint against the station, said despite the relatively light sentence, he was pleased that the court determined that Arutz Sheva was illegal, which, he said, proved that "even the settlers are not above the law." About 100 pirate stations operate in Israel, with the government and police recently embarking on a crackdown, because some of them interfere with control-tower communications at Ben-Gurion Airport. In October, the cabinet approved a bill that would make it illegal to advertise on pirate radio