Latest Offshore Radio News From Israel

Mike Brand presenting news and background stories

 

 

Wednesday September 3rd 2003

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Hello to everyone

An Israeli filmmaker is preparing
a documentary on Abie Nathan and the Voice of Peace. He is looking for any video footage that was filmed on the Peace ship (that includes also all kinds of other materials like 8 mm, Super 8, still pictures, sound tapes and any kind materials I can use in the film). He is willing to pay all costs (postage + packing, copying of cassettes etc.) ahead of time, plus full credit to whoever sends him footage.

I have already written to quite a few ex-VOP DJ's, but without much success. If you could please forward this request or publish it on your site, I / we would be most grateful

Thank you in advance

Mike Brand

 

Tuesday August 19th 2003

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Tuesday July 29th 2003:

Hi to you all ,

After the News Conference and radio and TV Interviews yesterday by a station calling itself the " Voice of Peace ", I feel I have to say something.

I will make a full and clear statement about this next week, as I have promised Henry AlkSlesi (Abie Nathan's right hand man for the past 30 years) not to react to the news conference that was held yesterday, and press releases and interviews that were given.

What I WILL say is this. This group calling themselves the Voice of Peace, have no legal right to use the name, and it's jingles. The name Voice of Peace belongs to Abie Nathan.

For the past few months,there has been another group working to return the VOP to the airways - with the full backing of Abie Nathan and Henry. As we learned of this second group, a meeting was held last Sunday to see if we could come to some middle ground, and work together.

The meeting was not a success, as the other group wanted the station to be a political station, where as our plan is to avoid politics all together, and go on the format of the old VOP, with a humanitarian slant.

It seems this left wing group wanted to "beat us to the press". But as we had no plans of going to the press before anything was concrete, this idea seems to be very babyish.

To summarize : There are two groups. One , wants to start a peace station with cooperation between the Israelis and the Palestinians. I see nothing wrong with this by the way. The other (the group I am involved in) wants to return the VOP in the way Abie would like it - with some improvements of course, we can't stay in the 70 and 80's.

The name and jingles etc belong to Abie Nathan, and only WE have the right to use them. The group I am involved in, has the full backing of Abie, and the people around him.

I am sorry it has come to this. We did not want to go public until we had something concrete to go on, and only a few people knew of it. But the going public of this other group has forced my hand to reveal a bit of our plans.

As there will be developments over the next few days, I will not write anymore. I am also going away for the weekend, and I will come out with a full statement and clarification next Monday.

By the way, the project will NOT be offshore .....


Mike Brand

 

Wednesday July 30th 2003:

West Bank and Gaza/Israel: Ministry denies licensing Palestinian-Israeli radio station 

Text of report by Palestinian radio Voice of Palestine on 30 July 

The Information Ministry has denied reports circulated by local and foreign media to the effect that the PNA [Palestine National Authority] granted a licence to a Palestinian-Israeli radio station called The Voice of Peace. A statement issued by the Information Ministry explained that the ministry's Press and Publications Department did not grant a licence to any joint radio station, but rather issued a temporary three-month permit for a Palestinian radio station called The Voice of Peace. 

Hani al-Masri, head of the Press and Publications Department, said that the ministry has a policy of advocating political and intellectual diversity, but this, however, does not give anyone the power to take the law into their hands and impose a fait accompli policy. He added that any radio station co-founded by foreigners should receive political approval and then the approval of the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Telecommunications. 

Al-Masri rebuffed media claims that the US Arab-language Radio Sawa leased a frequency to broadcast in Palestine. He noted that a local radio station, in violation of the law and applicable regulations, leased the frequency it had been assigned by the PNA. 

Source: Voice of Palestine, Ramallah, in Arabic 0900 gmt 30 Jul 03

 

Monday August 18th 2003:

Here is the interview with Noam Tal and myself on Radio 5 Live yesterday. Thank you very much to the OLD WIRELESS WAFFLER for recording it.

http://homepage.ntlworld.com/waffler/currentsound.htm

 

 

Wednesday June 25th 2003

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If anyone wants to purchase an Arutz 7 hat or T-Shirt - after all, they are the only REAL offshore radio station left in the world, you can do it through their website at the following address.

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Arutz Sheva continues to grow month by month, and we appreciate our subscribers' vote of confidence in our Daily Israel News List. The Arutz Sheva Internet Team is happy to announce the grand opening of the Arutz Sheva Mall, with an exclusive discount to you - our loyal subscribers. Many items on the Arutz Sheva Mall (www.IsraelNNmall.com) cannot be purchased elsewhere.

At the Arutz Sheva Mall: Arutz Sheva T-Shirts & Caps. These items are made with high quality material exclusively for Arutz Sheva by MV Sport/Weatherproof. (...)


 

 

Sunday June 22nd 2003

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Last week, I went to visit the founder of the Voice Of Peace, Abie Nathan in an old age home "somewhere in Tel-Aviv". Contrary to reports and rumours that Abie had died, I can tell you that he is very much alive. 

His condition is not good, and he is confined to a wheelchair. His speech is a bit slurred, but his memory is still sharp, and remembers events that happened years ago.

Abie is now 76 years old, and I am sure that we all wish him a long life. If any of you who once knew him, want to pass any messages on to him, you may do it through my e-mail address (mike@selasys.com) . I don't promise any answers from him, but I will pass the message on to him the next time I see him.

Mike Brand
Israel

 

Tuesday June 17th 2003

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Knesset Legal Counsel "Clarifies" Arutz-7 Ruling 

Knesset Legal Counsel Anna Schneider has essentially withdrawn her decision of yesterday that led to the ejection of an Arutz-7 reporter from a Knesset committee session. Knesset Law Committee Chairman Roni Bar-On of the Likud threw out Arutz-7's Haggai Seri from the session, claiming that Schneider had ruled that Arutz-7 was illegal. This, despite the fact that Bar-On had been interviewed several times on Arutz-7. Last night, however, Schneider released a statement explaining that she objected only to Seri's presence at a hearing dealing with Arutz-7. Seri and Bar-On were to get together this morning for an "amends-making" meeting. 


From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

LIKUD MK THROWS OUT ARUTZ-7 REPORTER

Knesset Law Committee Chairman Roni Bar-On (Likud), an attorney who has been interviewed more than once on Arutz-7, threw out an Arutz-7 reporter from today's committee session. As the session started, veteran Arutz-7 Knesset correspondent Haggai Seri, who has covered many Knesset committee sessions, was summarily ejected from the conference room at the behest of Chairman Bar-On. Bar-On claimed that he was acting at the behest of the Knesset legal counsel, who stated that Arutz-7 is not legal. The Knesset voted on Feb. 23, 1999 that Arutz-7 should be granted a license - but the Supreme Court, in an unprecedented decision, later overruled the law, 
forcing Arutz-7 to continue broadcasting from the sea.

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin said afterwards that Arutz-7 cannot be described as a pirate station because its transmissions are broadcast from the ocean. MK Sha'ul Yahalom (NRP) said that Arutz-7 broadcasts to hundreds of thousands of listeners and has long become a legitimate institution. Likud MK Ayoub Kara said that a Committee Chairman does not have the authority to determine whether a given reporter is allowed to work in the Knesset.


Same story, but from the Haaretz online Newspaper edition:

Arutz Sheva reporter removed from Knesset discussion <<...>> <<...>> 

<<...>> <<...>>The chairman of the Knesset House Committee, MK

Roni Bar-On (Likud), on Monday ordered the removal of Haggai Seri, the Knesset correspondent for the right-wing Arutz Sheva (Channel 7) radio station, from a committee meeting, on the grounds that the station broadcasts without a license. 

<<...>> The move came after Labor MK Shalom Simhon noticed the reporter was recording during the meeting to discuss the government's economic plan. 

Simhon said it was unacceptable for a reporter working for an illegal radio station to be present during such meetings. Following a very brief consultation with Knesset legal advisor Anna Shneider, Bar-On ordered Seri's immediate removal, despite the fact that he holds a government-issued reporter's permit, and has been a Knesset correspondent for the past four years. 

There was no objection to the decision from right-wing MKs participating in the meeting, among them Nissan Slominski (National Religious Party), Eliezer Cohen (National Union), and Likud MKs Omri Sharon, Inbal Gavrieli, Daniel Benlulu and Gideon Sa'ar. 

"I'm not sure the committee chairman should have acted as he did," Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) commented, "but I will back any decision reached by any committee chairperson, so long as it's devoid of political interests."

Rivlin added that the radio station broadcasts from international waters, and therefore is not breaking any laws. 

Among the harsh responses from the right-wing, deputy Education Minister Zvi Hendel (National Union) said that as long as the legal status of the radio station remains unsettled, the station is broadcasting from international waters, and paying royalties as required, it is not breaking any laws. Shaul Yahalom (NRP), outraged by the removal of the reporter, claimed that Arutz Sheva is an important media body that reaches thousands of listeners, and has long been legitimate. 

MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) called on Rivlin to prevent Knesset access for Arutz Sheva reporters, claiming that by cooperating with the reporters, the Knesset is taking a position contrary to the recommendations of the attorney general, and contrary to the law. 

Seri, who reports for an internet site affiliated with the radio station, regularly attends House Committee discussions, and often interviews ministers and MKs. 

"I'm a regular journalist, and do my job," Seri said. "It is unheard of for anyone to bar a reporter holding a government-issued permit. It's a blow to the freedom of the press."

 

Thursday May 15th 2003

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A tribute to Abi Nathan

Hi All,

There was a three hour programme on the " Time Tunnel " oldies show between 12.00 - 15.00 today ( 14/05/03 ) on Radius 100FM here in Israel, to the Voice of Peace. This being on a day that a tribute is going to be paid to Abie Nathan, the founder of the VOP at the Tzavta theatre in Tel-Aviv.

Lots of Israeli artists will be performing. and the proceeds will go to the costs of Abie's treatment. To remind your readers, Abie has suffered two strokes, leaving him in a wheelchair, and barely able to talk.

The programme consisted of VOP Jingles, excerts from Kenny Page, Tim Sheperd, commercials, Twilight Time, and other famous moments from the VOP's 20 year history. It was broadcast on the station Radius, which broadcasts on 100FM, the station that took over the old VOP frequency. The VOP closed down in October of 1993, and Radius started in September of 1995.

The programme was also broadcast through their website - www.100FM.co.il , which also has a camera showing live pictures from the studio.

Mike Brand, Israel

 

Tuesday April 1st 2003

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The VOP is to return

Plans are under way to salvage the former VOP ship from the Mediterranean Sea.

A group of Israeli left wing and peace supporters are financing a project to salvage the Peace ship from the depths of the Mediterranean Sea. Plans to bring back the Voice of Peace have been underway for a while now, and today I have been given the go-ahead to publish the story.

If all goes well, the ship will be brought to the surface within the next few days. The salvage was delayed because of the bad weather we have been having here in Israel these past few weeks. As the weather for the next week is going to be hot and sunny, it was decided to go ahead without delay.

If all goes well, after the ship is brought to the surface, it will be taken to Ashdod port for a thorough drying, clean out and paint job. After this, it is to be fitted out with new transmitting equipment, and antenna.

The date given for the station to go on the air is at the moment the 1st July . 

Plans were accelerated recently after the start of the war in Iraq, and the appointment of a Palestinian Prime Minister .

Many names that were part of the original VOP are to take part in the new station, but I have been asked not to reveal them at this point of time. The frequency for the station will be given close to start date. The old VOP frequencies cannot be used, as they are now taken by legal commercial radio stations now broadcasting in Israel, that were not around when the former VOP ceased to broadcast in 1993.

I will update you with more news when I have it.

Mike Brand

Israel

 

 

Monday January 20th 2003

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The chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Judge Michael Cheshin, turned down a claim, made by the left wing organization "Keshev". Keshev turned to Cheshin claiming that Arutz 7 were still broadcasting party political propaganda after they were ordered to stop interviewing all right wing politicians until after the elections here in Israel on the 28th January.

Cheshin rejected the claims, stating that Arutz 7 have agreed to stop any interviews with politicians assosiated with the right wing until after the elections, and therefore, there is no reason to take any action against them.

Mike Brand in Israel

From Arutz Sheva's News Update:

Arutz-7 Cleared

The left-wing Keshev media-monitor organization withdrew its complaint against Arutz-7 this afternoon, after Elections Committee Head Justice Michael Heshin made it clear that he would reject it. Keshev had accused Arutz-7 of broadcasting forbidden election propaganda, and therefore asked that Arutz-7 be closed until the elections and fined. Justice Heshin, however, praised Arutz-7 for its "propaganda-free programming," noting specifically the "courage" of Programming Manager Shulamit Melamed for her
decision to suspend three weekly programs: MKs Benny Elon and Uri Ariel, and Aryeh Eldad, all of whom are candidates for Knesset on the National Union list. Rabbi Zalman Melamed, a founding director of Arutz-7, is known as one of the National
Union's guiding rabbis.

From today's Haaretz:

CEC rejects contempt charge against Arutz Sheva <<...>> 
By Itim News Service <<...>>

The chairman of the Central Elections Committee (CEC), Justice Mishael Cheshin, yesterday rejected a petition filed by Keshev (The Center for the Protection of Democracy) against Arutz Sheva, for alleged contempt of court.

Keshev claimed that the pirate radio station and its manager, Shulamit Melamed, infringed the terms of a restraining order issued on December 30, prohibiting the stations from airing election propaganda until after the elections. 

During the hearing, Arutz Sheva's legal representatives presented Cheshin with three letters that Melamed sent to Professor Aryeh Eldad, and National Union Knesset members Uri Ariel and Benny Elon, informing them that their regular segments on the station would not be broadcast until after the elections. 

In his ruling, Cheshin said that after reading transcripts of the station's recent broadcasts he was convinced that "the level of illegal propaganda had dropped significantly since the injunction was issued, and Melamed's letters prove that Arutz Sheva had made every effort to abide by the terms of the injunction.


From today's Jerusalem Post:

Cheshin rejects petition against Arutz 7

The Central Elections Committee chairman, Supreme Court Justice Mishael Cheshin, on Sunday rejected a petition to declare the pirate radio station Arutz 7 in contempt of court, and ruled that it had taken steps to reduce election propaganda during the current campaign. The petition was submitted by Keshev (the Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel) and the Religious Action Center. The two organizations claimed that Arutz 7 had violated an order by Cheshin, in response to an earlier petition, to stop broadcasting election propaganda. In their latest petition, the groups submitted recordings of recent Arutz 7 broadcasts to back their claim that the station was still broadcasting election propaganda. 

Cheshin disagreed and noted that station manager Shulamit Melamed had presented letters sent to three political commentators who appear regularly on the station, Aryeh Eldad and MKs Benny Elon and Uri Ariel (National Union Party). Melamed informed the three that she was suspending their appearances until after the elections. "Ms. Melamed must have understood that she could not invite the three commentators to the studios without their words spilling over into election propaganda, and therefore she took a step that could not have been easy for her," wrote Cheshin. Cheshin also found that the evidence presented by the petitioners did not constitute election propaganda and that, in fact, the station had toned down its political content since his original ruling. 

 

 

New Year's Eve December 31st 2002

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From the English edition of the Haaretz online newspaper site:

Cheshin: Arutz Sheva airing pure propaganda 

By Gideon Alon 

The chairman of the Central Elections Committee (CEC), Justice Mishael Cheshin, issued a restraining order against pirate radio station Arutz Sheva, forbidding it from broadcasting election propaganda until after the January 28 elections. In accepting the petitions filed by the Center for the Protection of Democracy and the Israel Religious Action Center, Cheshin wrote "the election propaganda Arutz Sheva is broadcasting is illegal." 

Cheshin added that, in his opinion, "the broadcasts are pure, unadulterated propaganda. The dominant effect of these broadcasts is one of positive and negative propaganda mixed up together until they are indistinguishable." 

Cheshin rejected the argument put forward Arutz Sheva's legal representative, attorney Dan Sela, that the station maintained a fair balance in its broadcasts by interview right-wing politicians as well as left-wingers. Cheshin pointed out, however, that while the broadcasts featuring politicians from the right of the spectrum are nothing but propaganda, the broadcasts with politicians from the left are always interviews, some of which are extremely short. "I have no choice but to agree with the petitioners' argument that Arutz Sheva often portrays its interviewees in a critical, sometimes even ridiculous, light." 

Cheshin used as an example an interview the station broadcast with Amram Mitzna, in which the Labor leader spoke for one and half line out of the 14 lines of transcript, and the interview spoke for some 10 lines.

 

 

Sunday December 29th 2002

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From the Haaretz newspaper:

Election panel asks for transcripts of Arutz Sheva broadcasts 

<<...>> The chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Justice Mishael Cheshin, on Thursday asked pirate radio station Arutz Sheva to provide him with transcripts of its broadcasts and video recordings of the various opinion pieces aired on the station in the past month. 

Cheshin asked for the material after hearing a petition submitted Thursday by Keshev (The Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel) and The Israel Religious Action Center, who want the station closed down until January 29 for broadcasting election propaganda in flagrant breech of the election law. The petition also claims that the station's election broadcasts violate the concept of media evenhandedness, since they give unfair preference to the Likud, National Religious Party, the National
Union and Herut. 

Arutz Sheva's legal representative, attorney Dan Sela, presented Cheshin with a list of 15 political figures from left-wing parties, all of whom have been interviewed on the station recently. According to Sela, the list proves that Arutz Sheva gives equal airtime to all the political parties.
<<...>> 

 

 

Friday December 27th 2002

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From Arutz Sheva's News Update:

PROFESSORS FOR A STRONG ISRAEL, ON ARUTZ-7 RAID

In a statement released Wednesday, Professors for a Strong Israel, an organization of Israeli academics, called the police raid on the Arutz-7 ship on Tuesday "nothing but a crude attempt to silence those who express clearly their opposition to a Palestinian state west of the Jordan."

The statement continued: "We call on the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Communications and of Internal Security to condemn this action and thus to allow the continued democratic protest against the perverted proposal that was born with Oslo and continues its sorry life after adoption by Mr. Sharon. We regret that even the Likud government has not enacted a law that would protect Arutz-7 from persecution by the police. As long as the state media continue to act as mouthpieces for the continued Oslo disaster and for a Palestinian state in the heart of the country, it is essential to allow free speech, Zionist speech. We regard the continual attacks on Arutz 7 as a continuation of the war waged by the Oslo establishment against anyone who has resisted its foolish demarche. They are also a disgraceful attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and thus an attack on democratic rule."

 

 

Thursday December 26th 2002

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From today's Haaretz Newspaper...

Election committee to hear petition against pirate radio station Arutz Sheva

The chairman of the Central Election Committee (CEC), Justice Mishael Cheshin, will today hear a petition asking him to issue a restraining order against pirate radio stations Arutz Sheva, prohibiting it from broadcasting until after the January 28 elections. The petition, filed by Keshev (The Center for the Protection of Democracy in Israel) and The Israel Religious Action Center, who claimed that Arutz Sheva is broadcasting election propaganda in flagrant breech of the election law. They also claim that the
station's election broadcasts violate the concept of media evenhandedness, since they give unfair preference to the Likud, National Religious Party, the National Union and Herut. (Gideon Alon)
 

For some video footage go to the Arutz 7 site in English, and press on Arutz 7 TV:

http://www.israelnn.com/

 


From Arutz Sheva's News Update:

JUDGE IRKED BY REQUEST TO GAG ARUTZ-7

The Central Elections Board is on the verge of turning down a request this afternoon to either ban Arutz-7 outright until after the election or curtail its election-related broadcasts. Two left-wing organizations - Keshev and the Center for Jewish Pluralism - filed the request, saying that Arutz-7 gives too much airtime to right-wing parties and not enough to the others. The station denies what it calls the "politically-motivated" charges, saying that it is more careful not to allow its interviewers and
interviewees to speak on behalf of specific parties than are Israel's public stations.

Arutz-7's Effie Meir reports that reaction of Elections Board Chairman Hon. Michael Cheshin appears to leave no room for doubt as to his decision. "This law [banning election propaganda] should be nullified. Everyone violates it; it's a 'covenant of thieves.' ... If I would accept this request against Arutz-7, then Arutz-7 could justifiably
ask for a similar order against the other stations, because they all violate the law." When Arutz-7 presented its list of recent interviewees, Cheshin showed that he was duly impressed with the balance between the right and left of the political spectrum.

Keshev is headed by Yizhar Be'er, a former Director-General of the left-wing B'Tzelem human rights organization, and is funded by the European Union and the New Israel Fund. The European Union has frequently intervened in internal Israeli matters. Journalist Yoav Yitzchak revealed that the EU funded such left-wing organizations as Peace Now, Four Mothers, the Peres Peace Center, and others, and supported Yossi Beilin and Shlomo Ben-Ami.

 

 

Wednesday December 25th 2002

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After listening to Arutz 7, and reading all the reports of the raid in the Hebrew online newspapers, the picture that seems to be emerging is as follows:

Tel-Aviv police and Communications Ministry officials raided the Arutz 7 ship "Eretz Hatzvi" at 13.00 this afternoon. The ship is anchored in Israeli National waters, about 6 miles off the coast of Tel-Aviv. The broadcasts were stopped for about an hour, but no equipment was confiscated, and no one (there were not many people on the ship at the time) was arrested. The broadcasts were stopped whilst police photographed all the transmitting equipment.

It seems the raid was carried out because of numerous complaints to the Ministry of Communications about Party Political broadcasts, and right wing propoganda being aired over the past week or so. Israeli law forbids these kinds of broadcasts before a General Election (which we have at the end of January), and limits them to three weeks before the elections, and only at certain times when all parties have airtime at the same time.

The Minister of Communications, Reuven Rivlin, apologized to Arutz 7 (only in Israel, would a Communications Minister apologize to an offshore radio station!) , and said the raid was carried out without his knowledge.

May I take this opportunity of wishing all readers a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy and peaceful New Year.

Mike Brand in Israel

From Arutz Sheva's News Update:

Arutz-7 Ship Raided, Warned Not To Broadcast

Israel Police and Communications Ministry personnel raided the Eretz HaTzvi broadcasting ship of Arutz-7 Israel National Radio this afternoon, halting the station's signal for over an hour. The ship's captain was warned not to resume transmission of the broadcasts.

The raid began at 1 PM, just as the news magazine hour was about to begin, and ended approximately 2:15. The police photographed equipment and workers, but confiscated nothing. Reports on Israel Radio that the police found only one person on board - the captain - are groundless, and in fact there were close to ten crewmembers on board at the time.

Arutz-7 broadcasts from outside of Israel's territorial waters in order to circumvent legislation that prohibits privately-owned radio stations from airing nationwide. A law duly passed by the Knesset granting Arutz-7 a broadcasting license was recently nullified by the Supreme Court.

Arutz-7 management noted that this was the first time in the history of Israeli off-shore broadcasting - including 22 years of Abie Natan's Voice of Peace ship, and 15 years for Arutz-7 - that police had ever made such a raid. "Not under the governments of Yitzchak Rabin, Shimon Peres, or Ehud Barak were police ever sent to raid a ship broadcasting from sea," the station said. "Only under Ariel Sharon did this happen. Could it have something to do with our opposition to a Palestinian state?"

Condemnations of the apparent blow against freedom of speech came only from the right-wing. Communications Minister Ruby Rivlin of the Likud said today that he was "furious" at the raid, citing in particular its timing during an election campaign. While the raid was underway, the Council of Jewish Communities in Yesha called upon Public Security Minister Uzi Landau - ministerial supervisor of Israel Police - to renew at once the broadcasts on Arutz-7, "which, especially during this period, is a national and patriotic mouthpiece for the struggle on behalf of the Land of Israel."

A spokesman for Minister Landau told Arutz-7 that he did not know of the raid in advance, and that it was initiated by the Communications Ministry a while ago. He preferred not to comment on the political aspects of the raid.

National Union party leader MK Avigdor Lieberman said that the raid is "nothing more than political scheming, based on election-campaign considerations and as revenge for Arutz-7's clear policy against a Palestinian state." His party colleagues also commented: MK Tzvi Hendel said that this is a case of "political persecution on the eve of elections," and demanded that Communications Minister Rivlin open an immediate investigation into how this occurred. MK Uri Ariel said that the raid is an attempt to "shut mouths." MK Benny Elon said that the authorities of the Supreme Court - which put a freeze on a duly-passed Knesset law legalizing Arutz-7 - must be curtailed "in order to prevent it from making a mockery of Israel's democracy."

Blame for the raid is already being freely apportioned. The police say that the Communications Ministry ordered the raid as part of its efforts against unlicensed stations. The Communications Ministry, however, says that the raid came in response to Elections Committee head Hon. Michael Cheshin's call to ensure that unlicensed stations do not broadcast election propaganda. Arutz-7 announced in response that it is more careful not to allow its interviewers and interviewees to speak on behalf of specific parties than are Israel's public stations.


ARUTZ-7 RAID UNCLEAR
The circumstances surrounding yesterday's raid on Arutz-7's ship are still unclear. Arutz-7 officials have not been able to determine why the raid was conducted, nor why it happened specifically yesterday.

Israel Police and Communications Ministry personnel raided the Eretz HaTzvi broadcasting ship of Arutz-7 Israel National Radio yesterday, halting the station's signal for over an hour and warning the captain not to resume broadcasting. Nothing was taken or damaged.

Arutz-7 broadcasts from outside of Israel's territorial waters because privately-owned radio stations are prohibited from airing nationwide. A law duly passed by the Knesset granting Arutz-7 a broadcasting license was recently nullified by the Supreme Court.

Communications Minister Ruby Rivlin of the Likud said he was "furious" at the timing of the raid, and other right-wing politicians railed against what some called "political persecution." A spokesman for Public Security Minister Uzi Landau, who oversees the Israel Police, told Arutz-7 that he did not know of the raid in advance, and that the Communications Ministry initiated it a while ago. The Communications Ministry says the raid was a result of Elections Committee head Hon. Michael Cheshin's call to ensure that unlicensed stations do not broadcast election propaganda. Cheshin himself said he was not involved. Arutz-7 announced in response that it is more careful not to allow its interviewers and interviewees to speak on behalf of specific parties than are Israel's public stations.

ARUTZ-7 issued this announcement following the raid:

"For 15 years, the State Prosecution and the police have waged a campaign to harm Arutz-7 by "hitting us in our pockets." On two previous occasions, police have smashed and confiscated our state-of-the-art broadcasting equipment, under the pretext that the station's broadcasts are against Israeli law. No court has ever ruled that this is the case, but Arutz-7 has had to pay top lawyers' fees in order to defend itself against these allegations. Police raids like the one today on our broadcasting ship are aimed solely at portraying the station as illegal, thus bringing about an immediate decrease in advertising income. "The Prime Minister, Communications Minister, and Public Security (Police) Minister all denied prior knowledge of and involvement in today's attempt to silence Israel's only radio voice opposing the establishment of Palestinian state. How, then, did it happen? Raids of this sort happen under right-wing governments because extremist left elements control key government institutions, including the police, the State Prosecution, the courts, and the Israel Broadcasting Authority. They are largely behind the systematic attempts to financially cripple and harm the lone nationalist voice on Israel's airwaves. We turn to our listeners and internet readers to fight this trend in whatever legitimate manner is available. Please speak out, write letters and faxes, and support the station in its continual struggle to survive these blows against our right to champion the Jewish Nation's right to the Land of Israel."


From the English edition of the Haaretz online newspaper site:

Police and Communication Ministry officials on Tuesday raided the ship from which the Arutz Sheva pirate radio station broadcasts. The raid took place following numerous complaints were made regarding the broadcast of propaganda on pirate radio stations. 

Police officers photographed and videotaped equipment on the ship, but did not confiscate the materials. Radio station employees were requested to get off of the ship, and broadcasts were halted. 

The raid took place during a show hosted by MK Benny Elon (National Unioni - Yisrael Beiteinu). 

Aryeh Eldar, who heads National Union - Yisrael Beiteinu's response committee said that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is "shutting the mouths of the only broadcast station trying to avert a disaster in the state of Israel." During the raid, the Yesha Council called on Public Security Minister Uzi Landau to immediately renew Arutz Sheva broadcasts, which it claims serve as a "national and patriotic shofar."

Police raid Arutz Sheva 

By Efrat Shalom 

Police and Communications Ministry inspectors yesterday boarded the "Eretz Hatzvi" ship used by the Arutz Sheva pirate radio station and warned the ship's captain that he was operating in violation of the law. 

Arutz Sheva, a mouthpiece for Jewish settlement in the territories, relays its broadcasts from outside of Israel's territorial waters, opposite Tel Aviv, to circumvent licensing restrictions. The Supreme Court recently overturned a law that had granted Arutz Sheva a broadcast license. 

No equipment was confiscated during the police action yesterday and no arrests were made. The station's broadcasts were halted for over an hour, but resumed soon after the officials left the ship.


From today's Jerusalem Post:

Police board Arutz 7 ship, temporarily halt broadcasts
By JERUSALEM POST STAFF

Police and Communications Ministry representatives on Tuesday boarded Arutz 7's Hatzvi ship and shut down its broadcasts for about an hour. 

Ministry staffers went to the boat to photograph its equipment and order the shutdown based on a court order. The boat's captain was questioned and warned not to continue broadcasting, but the ship resumed broadcasting a short time afterwards. 

The pirate radio station's management said it was the first time in the history of Israeli broadcasting that police have boarded a broadcast vessel on the high seas. 

National Union MK Zvi Hendel called on Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin to probe who approved the action. Rivlin was reportedly angry about the move, saying such steps should not be taken during an election period. 

According to sources familiar with the station's legal situation, legislation that would have allowed it to broadcast from land has been blocked in court, based on the argument that the idea of grandfathering certain broadcast stations is not proper since it would provide licenses to bodies that previously acted without them. Station officials dispute this, citing as precedent a plan to license jitney services for routes they previously operated without proper licenses. 

Responding to the temporary shutdown of the station, the Council of Jewish Settlements in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip called on the Internal Security Ministry to immediately renew the broadcasts of the station, which it said "constitutes a national and patriotic voice that is particularly important in these days of the campaign over the entire Land of Israel." 

Meanwhile, the Israel Religious Action Center disputed the station's claims that Tuesday's move was an attempt to keep its views from being heard for political reasons, saying the station had been broadcasting what the center said was illegal campaign broadcasting for a month. The center said in a statement that the station was deliberately promoting the views of specific parties and ignoring the presentation of the entire spectrum of political opinions.

CEC denies Justice Cheshin ordered police to raid Arutz Sheva ship
By THE JERUSALEM POST INTERNET STAFF

The Central Election Committee rejected earlier reports that its chairman, Justice Mishael Cheshin, ordered police to raid the ship that houses illegal radio station Arutz Sheva, as well as the premises of other illegal stations, Army Radio reported. 

Earlier reports quoted Communications Minister Reuven Rivlin as saying his ministry's inspectors raided following, among other reasons, an order given by Cheshin. 

Police had earlier said "technical hardships" were the reason it did not confiscate any of Arutz Sheva's equipment, when it shut the station down for an hour Tuesday afternoon. 

Arutz Sheva broadcasts from a ship in International waters off the coast of Israel. The station's broadcasts are primarily geared for a national religious and settlers' audience.

 

 

Wednesday October 30th 2002

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Hi All,

So? What is the difference between a taxi and Arutz 7 - nothing according to their daily news update of last night...


TAXIS AND ARUTZ-7 
Transportation Minister Ephraim Sneh has asked Police Commissioner Shlomo Aharonishki to stop issuing tickets to pirate taxi operators. Sneh says that after last week's Cabinet decision to award licenses to the pirate operators, it would be unfair to issue them tickets or otherwise punish them during the few months it will take for the legalization to be actualized. Two Arutz-7 staffers recently queried Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein as to why the government retroactively legalized illegal taxi lines, in light of the fact that the Supreme Court recently disqualified a Knesset law that would have done something similar for Arutz-7. It should be noted that though Arutz-7 is not and was never illegal, because it broadcasts from extra-territorial waters, the Court overturned a Knesset-passed law calling to grant it a license.

 

 

Monday October 21st 2002

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"New" pictures of the King David

During the weekend, an offshore radio friend sent me four exclusive colour pictures of the King David in Poutsmouth harbour - before it had to make its getaway to the open seas. As far as I know, I have never seen these pictures published anywhere before.

Paul Rusling's comment: "I recognise the location in the picture, but this was AFTER my time. My involvement was much earlier - once the guys said they were buying scrap transmitters in Germany and importing these via Dover with details being passed to the DTI, I pulled out. One reason was that it was clear that someone would get arrested. Second reason was that jigsaw puzzles, without a guide picture, take years to assemble - proven with the King David project. Too many people knew what was happening - it was clear that it wasn't going to be worth it. Also, one guy made off with a lot of the money and the whole matter was simply not being managed at all. Not good for one's reputation!"

Find the pictures HERE.

 

 

September 2002

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How does Arutz 7 operate in Israel?

I recently visited the Arutz 7 "Internet TV" studios just outside of Tel-Aviv. This is the article I wrote. It will appear in the next edition of Offshore Echo's Magazine. So don't miss the next issue! 

Read the article HERE.

 

 

Wednesday September 11th 2002

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Hi all,

This article appeared in todays Yediot Achronot newspaper - here is a translation. 

All the best

Mike

Arutz 7 to operate TV station

The owners of the pirate radio station Arutz 7, who identify with the right wing, are planning to start a new television station, whose broadcasts will originate from Europe, and will be picked up in Israel through satellite. According to the plan, the station will broadcast 24 hours a day in Hebrew and English. The programmes will include News, current affairs, Jewish History, and Torah (Bible). The estimated time that the station will come on the air is "within three months".

Arutz 7 owner Yaacov Katz adds that the channels reprensititives are raising funds in Western Europe and the USA. Their target is 25 million shekels ($530,000), which is
mainly for the infrastructure. Katz goes on "Part of the money has already been raised from Jews in the past two weeks in England,Belgium and the USA."

In the first few months the broadcasts will be prerecorded, and the changeover to live and daily news broadcasts will occur within 6 months. Arutz 7 announced that next month, special sales spots will open to sell the satellite dishes that can pick up the broadcasts. These dishes will cost 2000 shekels each (about $422).

 

 

August 2002

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Three attempts to relive the Voice of Peace

Shalom 

I am going to tell you over the next few messages about the 3 attempts - or should I say plans - to bring back the Voice of Peace - or more correctly ,a peace station to the coast of Israel. To remind you, the VOP closed down in October 1993, and its owner/founder, Abie Nathan, sunk his ship, the M/V Peace at the end of November 1993.

The first attempt was in 1998.

At the beginning of January 1998 I received an Information sheet from a friend of mine who was working for Radio Tel-Aviv at the time. It was a single piece of paper about a man who wanted to bring back the Voice of Peace. No name was given, just a mobile phone. Very curious, I called the number. I got through to a Canadian - I will not reveal his name. I introduced myself to him, and he told me that he has been trying to get in touch with me, and it is good that I called. We set a day to meet in the hotel he was staying in, and I put the phone down quite excited at the thought of the possibility of the VOP returning.

We met at his hotel, and I learned that he is a (or so he claimed) millionaire who has a finger in a lot of pies, including online gambling. We talked a bit about how we saw the station coming about, and I saw then that his views were very left wing, and the things he wanted to do were not going to be acceptable to the Israeli audience (which would probably make up 80% of the listeners).

At first he said he was going to look for a ship in Greece, and then had the idea of broadcasting from Israel,but with transmitters in the Palestinian Authority areas. I then saw for the first time, that he was not organized, and had no idea how to set up a radio station. He was an idealist, but with no experience of broadcasting.He knew what he wanted to say, but had no idea how to go about it.

I suggested widening the circle of people involved, and with his contacts and mine, a further meeting was held in the house of a former VOP DJ just outside of Tel-Aviv. We were about eight people with landbased and offshore experience. The meeting went pretty well, but for the first time, the question of money was brought up. We were all radio enthusiasts, and very much wanted the VOP to return, but if we were going to put our time into the project, we wanted to be paid for it too, even if at the beginning, it wouldn't be that much. The backer agreed, and said he would come back to us all with figures etc at the next meeting.

The backer and I agreed to meet again over dinner a few days later. He wanted to talk format. I said it was a bit early to talk format, as there were a lot of other details to settle first, but he wanted to talk format, and as he was the one with the money, I couldn't really say no. He again told me of his left wing stance, and I told him the Israeli public would not listen to such a station, and the advertizers would run a mile. He told me he set up an Internet site (www.voiceofpeace.co.il - does not exist anymore), and by the looks of it, his left wing views went overboard even more.

We decided to broaden the number of people involved, and I contacted more people whom I thought would like to be involved in the project. Then the problems started. Whenever I called his mobile phone, I always got his answering machine, then one day, I got a message that his phone was disconnected. I called his hotel, and they told me he had checked out days before. A few weeks later I got an e-mail from him from New York, telling me he wants to start an Internet version of the VOP, and would I help him. No explanations as to why he left in such a hurry, nothing! He just ran!

This dreamer probably realized how much time money and effort it would take to get such a station on the air, and just left the country - leaving a lot of disappointed people behind.


Here is the story of the second attempt to try and get a peace station on the air off the coast of Israel. This time, I wouldn't call the people behind the project "dreamers", in 
fact quite the opposite. As many of you probably read at beginning of this year (approx.), there was a Dutch millionaire by the name of Harry de Winter who wanted to start a peace station off the casst of Israel. 

Before the story hit the press and Anorak sites, I was informed by one of my Anorak contacts in Holland of the intent of de Winter. A day or two later, I received an e-mail from someone within de Winter's organisation asking me to help out on the Israeli side of things. Of course I accepted, and got to work to see if there would be a market for such a station. 

I turned to the Peace Organisations and members of the Israeli Parliament. The peace organisations more or less threw themselves at my feet, and said "Use us, we think it is a great idea", as for the Knesset members, the reactions were varied. They didn't know how to handle the fact that the station wouldn't be 100% legal (broadcasting from a boat), and didn't want to get themselves in trouble by writing on paper their support for such a station. Most of the left wing/Arab Knesset members welcomed the idea. 

De Winters representative arrived here in Israel for a week to check things out too. After a couple of phone calls between us when he was here, it did not suit either of our timetables to meet, and he went back to Holland. This was the first sign I got that things were not going as they should be. 

Several ways were looked at as how to transmit the station into Israel and its neighbours. One way was a boat, another was to broadcast from Cyprus. My contact in Holland got in touch with the Carotine Organisation, and there was an offer to rent out the Ross Revenge to this new peace station. I was the go between between the de Winter Organisation and my contact who was acting for the Caroline Organisation. 

The de Winter Organisation was not too thrilled with the idea, in fact I could see that their direction was not in favour of a ship based station at all, but I was told that all options were still open. In the meanwhile, I was getting conflicting reports about the state of the Ross Revenge. My contact in Holland told me that even though the equipment on the Ross was old, it was still in good shape. I got another report from someone who had visited the Ross not so long ago, and told me that the general state of the ship was not so good, and didn't know if it would make it to Israel, and this was apart from the ancient equipment on board. He also mentioned that the ship was not built to be in the Mediteranean Sea, and the heat of the Middle Eastem climate. Add to this the legal state of the ship, and if the DTI would just let it sail out.

All these aspects seemed to have effected de Winters decision, and the Ross Revenge option was dropped. At the same time, de Winter himself was facing opposition from some of his Jewish backers in Holland. They didn't want their money going into a station that would appease the Palestinians, whilst some terrible terrorist acts were happening in Israel. One day I got a telephone call from de Winters representative telling me that (not suprisingly) they would be looking into other ways into campaigning tor peace in the Middle East, and the plan for the Peace station has been "shelved" tor the moment.

That was the second attempt to try and bring a peace station to Israel. It of course was much more complicated than I have written above, and there were some details that I will not reveal. 



The third and final (?) part of the people/groups who have tried to bring a peace station to the coast of Israel happened a few months ago.

In February of this year I received an e-mail from Howard Rose (Crispian St John). This was not unusual, as I report and sometimes write articles for the "Radio Magazine". This e-mail was different, and caught me off guard. Howard wrote that he read/heard about the attempt to bring a peace station (the de Winter group), and wrote me that he has (had!) plans to start his own offshore station off the coast of Israel.

A lot of details I'm afraid I cannot reveal for reasons I cannot say at this time, but obviously Howards dream of "an all new Voice Of Peace " were cut short. What I CAN say is that he had two stations planned for here (from the same ship). One station was supposed to be Top 40 with commercials etc, and the other, was supposed to be a specialized station focusing on peace. It was to employ presenters of all nationalities and religions, and was to be a model of co-existence.

Howard was writing to me for a few months telling me more and more details of his plans and hopes for the station. One day in May the e-mails stopped, and I didn't hear from him again, even though I knew he was writing for the Radio Magazine still. I thought to myself that this was the third time that I was caught up in the dreams of someone else. Sadly I heard like everyone else of the tragic death of Howard a few weeks ago, but there were not many that new of his plans to refloat the VOP.

There is a need to bring back the VOP to Israel, and the sooner the better. So if there is anyone out there with a couple of million dollars, please contact me here in Israel, I can put your money to good use..........

Mike

 

 

Tuesday July 30th 2002

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Dear All,

As I am sure you have heard by now, Paul Rusling has just announced the death of Kenny Page. Here is what he wrote to the Anoraks List:


Folks,
Sorry to bring yet more very sad day news -

It has been reported on Tay AM & Tay FM today that former Caroline jock and VoP Programme Controller Kenny Page has died after a long term illness. At Radio Tay (as it was known then) Kenny's talent and personality shone out and he created quite a following. Listeners to his Rock show were often invited to meet him for a few beers (a bar called Foreigners invariably) after the show. A great guy!

To quote an extract from my daughter's book (Who's Who in British Radio 2002 *):

Kenny did some work in hospital radio in the city and pestered Andy Park (qv) for a job. His first programme was 'Ken's Korner' on Radio Clyde in January 1974, and two years later he joined Radio Caroline. The following year he set off for the sunnier Mediterranean, becoming Programme Controller on the Voice of Peace. 

He then returned to Scotland and Radio Tay in Dundee where he hosted lunchtime and evening programmes. While there he spent hours and hours in the ladies loo, hand washing over 2000 records the station had acquired. Kenny says that he learned a lot in that room, including "hands that wash records can feel soft as your face!" He 
also became Music Controller at Radio Tay.


Kenny was great fun and totally committed to radio. There must be a fantastic radio station up there somewhere.

Paul Rusling

* for availability see http://www.broadcastdata.net/publications Special offer to celebrate Yorkshire Day - from August 1st, massive 70% discount - available for 10 plus P&P.



I remember kenny very well, and his special brand of humour that he adapted to the Israeli market. He always knew what was going on here, and he even spoke a bit of Hebrew on his shows! 

A great DJ, a true professional!

May he rest in peace

Mike