Latest Offshore Radio News From Israel

Mike Brand presenting news and background stories

 

 

Friday February 17th 2006

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Within three weeks, the Israeli Communications Ministry, along with the Second Channel TV and Radio Authority, will issue a tender for a “local” radio station due to cover the whole of Judea and Samaria (The West Bank).

Along with this decision, it was decided that the winning station would have only one frequency, but a series of relay transmitters would be set up, so the signal would be received in all areas of the West Bank.

This is the first time that the Second Channel TV and Radio Authority has issued a tender for a radio station across the “Green Line”.

It is not known yet if Arutz(Channel) 7 will or CAN take part in the tender. Arutz 7 closed down in October of 2003 after they were declared illegal by an Israeli court, and to cover the heavy fines issued to their operators, staff and court costs, it was decided to sell their ship, the MV Hatzvi, to a breakers yard, and continue just through the Internet.

Mike 

 

Thursday August 5th 2005

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Hi All,

There is a new radio station in the Ashdod area "claiming to be offshore". They have an internet site, but it is only in Hebrew at the moment. After a short conversation with someone at the station (I have to call between 14.00-16.00 to talk to someone else!), he claims that the boat is called "Kochav Hayam" (The Sea Star or Star of the Sea), and is anchored 20 kilometres off the coast of Ashdod.

When I asked if there were any pictures of this so called boat, he said they would be putting a picture on their site "very soon". This is most probably a landbased pirate "playing offshore", but keep an eye on their site "just in case".

The address is:
http://972fm.up.co.il/

Mike

 

Sunday July 10th 2005

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Unfortunately I received this invitation to my work e-mail, and I only saw it this morning (10th July 2005), so I couldn't attend. The translation goes like this:

On Saturday night 09/07/05 at 21.00 opposite the Jerusalem Cinematek.
In the framework of the Welnin Competition at the International Film Festival.
The film will be shown in the presence of Abie Nathan.
Then it goes on to say to confirm the invitatation, and to what phone/fax/e-mail etc.
Then it says "See you there", Eytan Harris and Sarit Kedem.
Then: Producer and photographer: Eytan" Harris and all the other people connected with the film.

 

 

Friday June 25th 2004

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From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

Olmert Buries New "Arutz-7 Law" 
Ehud Olmert, in his capacity as Communications Minister, informed the Knesset Economics Committee yesterday that he plans to freeze the proposed law for three new "designated radio stations" - a bill known as the "Arutz-7 law."

Olmert said that in the "very near future, I will appoint a public commission that will deal with the full range of aspects touching on the formation of new radio stations in Israel." The bottom line is that no practical progress will be made towards the establishment of new radio stations in the foreseeable future.

The announcement was accepted by the entire committee, except for MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union). Hendel, whom many consider Arutz-7's foremost supporter in the Knesset, said, "Minister Olmert continues to break records for brazen hypocrisy. When it was convenient for him, he proudly showed off the radio station bill wherever he could, but now, when because of small-minded political considerations he is afraid that the bill might pass, he does all he can to bury it."

On February 23, 1999, the Knesset, by a 40-30 vote, passed a law formally licensing Arutz-7 - and within hours, left-wing MKs Yossi Sarid, Chaim Oron, and Eitan Cabel petitioned the High Court against it. Three years later, on March 26, 2002, the Supreme Court deemed the duly-passed Knesset law null and void. On Oct. 20, 2003, ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members were convicted of broadcasting without a license, even though the broadcasts had emanated from an off-shore ship, and the station promptly closed down its radio broadcasts. On Dec. 29, the Cabinet voted to back Olmert's proposed legislation that would establish three new national radio stations to serve specific population sectors. A Communications Ministry official said at the time that there was no guarantee that Arutz-7 would win a tender, but added, "We hope that Arutz-7 will win." In February of this year, the Knesset passed the first reading of the bill, thus enabling its transfer to the Knesset Economics Committee - where it has now been buried.

Sources within Arutz-7 said that they never had much confidence in the above process, and instead are working to obtain a license for a regional radio station.

Arutz-7's broadcasts continue as usual on the internet, at <"www.IsraelNationalRadio.com
"> in English, and <"www.a7.org/metafiles/asx/arutzlive.asx"> in Hebrew. They can also be heard by phone (in Hebrew) at: 057-777-7777, 03-606-6777, 050-822-2233, and 054-476-6011. From abroad, dial country code 972 and then the above numbers without the first 0. 


A Government law forbidding advertising on pirate radio stations was approved in the Economic committee, and will be sent to the Knesset for second and third readings.

According to the proposed law, anyone prosecuted, could face either a heavy fine, or one year in prison. When the proposed law reached the committee, it was found that the law does NOT include pirate radio broadcasts originating from Judea, Samaria or Gaza. The Chairman of the committee, Shalom Simchon, instructed Government
offices to add another paragraph to the proposal, before it was sent to the Knesset for voting.

Mike Brand

 

Tuesday May 25th 2004

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From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

Arutz-7 Trial Is Over 
18:23 May 18, '04 / 27 Iyar 5764


The trial of the "Arutz-7 Ten" has come to an end, as both the prosecution and the defendants withdrew their appeals yesterday against the original ruling. Both sides had appealed the sentences handed down against ten Arutz-7 station managers and broadcasters seven months ago. 

The Jerusalem District Court judges expressed strong criticism of the state and the prosecution in their handling of the case against Arutz-7: 
"It is inconceivable that the state would take out its rage against the pirate radio stations by punishing the leaders of Arutz-7... [which] operated throughout the years with the encouragement of the authorities; the Knesset even legislated a law to legalize it." 

The judges began by recommending that both sides withdraw their appeals, and the defense team agreed. The prosecution then did the same - except for the fine levied against Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, the station's executive-director, which it insisted be increased. The judges were not happy with this position, and hinted that if the prosecution did not withdraw its appeal totally, they would have much to say about the entire trial against Arutz-7. The prosecution team then consulted amongst themselves once again, and agreed to drop their entire appeal.

The final sentences are thus as follows: Katz, Programming Director Shulamit Melamed, Engineer Ya'ir Meir, and News Editor Haggai Segal must serve 3-6 months of community service each, while each of the ten defendants must pay between 20,000 and 50,000 shekels each. In addition, Arutz-7 itself was fined a total of 450,000 shekels.

Arutz-7 radio ceased broadcasts on Oct. 20 of last year, only two hours after a Jerusalem court convicted ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members of broadcasting without a license.

The Yesha Council issued a statement at the time saying that the Arutz-7 convicts are idealists who are termed "law breakers" only because the governments of Israel never enabled an "open skies" broadcasting policy. MK Tzvi Hendel (National Union), the legislator who had been the most active on behalf of Arutz-7 over the years, said, "The court has decided to punish hundreds of thousands of listeners." Hevron Jewish Community leader Noam Arnon said, "The only reason the left-wing spends so much time and effort on Arutz-7 is because Arutz-7 has been such a great success as a mouthpiece for such a vast audience in Israel."

Just prior to stopping its broadcasts, Arutz-7 announced, 

"To the precious and loyal listening public of Arutz-7, may G-d bless you from Zion.

"For some 15 years, Arutz-7 has broadcast Torah lessons and love of the People and the Land, with the participation of the leaders of Israel. The broadcasts accompanied and aided in the development of Torah in Israel and settlement of the Land.

"Following the decision of the Likud Government of yesterday to prevent advertising on non-licensed stations, and following today's court decision, the management of Arutz-7 has decided to stop all broadcasts on the radio, beginning at 5 PM this evening.

"Peace upon all." 

On February 23, 1999, the Knesset passed a law formally licensing Arutz-7 - and within hours, left-wing MKs Yossi Sarid, Chaim Oron, and Eitan Cabel submitted petitions against it. Over three years later, on March 26, 2002, the Supreme Court deemed the duly passed Knesset law null and void. It ruled that the special Arutz-7 law harms the country's "rule of law" as well as the "freedom of occupation" of potential competitors. 

Arutz-7's broadcasts continue as usual on the internet, at "www.IsraelNationalRadio.com" in English, and "www.a7.org/metafiles/asx/arutzlive.asx" in Hebrew. They can also be heard by phone (in Hebrew) at: 057-777-7777, 03-606-6777, 050-822-2233, and 054-476-6011. From abroad, dial country code 972 and then the above numbers without the first 0. 

Legislative efforts to allow Arutz-7 to resume broadcasts on a national scale continue, albeit slowly. Communications Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing legislation for a new Communications Authority, under which are to be established three new stations, including one for which Arutz-7 could compete. It does not appear that the proposal will be ready in the near future, however; Ministers Netanyahu and Livnat have nixed a new draft prepared by Olmert because, they say, he inserted changes that would increase his own authorities over and beyond that which had been previously agreed.

 

Sunday April 4th 2004

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Sorry folks, it was a hoax - as far as I know anyway !! What with the political situation in the country at the moment, this really COULD happen, and everything I wrote about Gaza, and illegal broadcasts etc was TRUE ! But as far as I know, the Arutz 7 management have NO PLANS to go back offshore.

I searched the web for a few days to find a "suitable radio ship", and as soon as I saw the "LIDA", I knew that this was the ship I wanted to use. It looks very much like the former Arutz 7 ship " Hatzvi ", another reason why I used the ship.

So again, no new offshore radio station. But maybe with the political situation here in Israel at the moment, Arutz 7 will weigh up the possibility of returning to the airwaves. 

Until next year......

Mike Brand
Israel

 

Thursday April 1st 2004

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Arutz 7 to return!

After 5 months of radio silence, Arutz 7 is to return to the airwaves. After refusing an offer of another radio ship shortly after they went off the air in October, it seems that broadcasting through the Internet is not enough for the former offshore radio station.

Speaking to a senior staff member, he revealed to me that there would be no chance that Arutz 7 will be able to receive a license in either the local or national tenders, as they have been accused of illegal broadcasting. Also, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has a plan to leave Gaza and parts of the West Bank, and there is no voice in today's media to really talk against it.

The ship, renamed Shivtai Yisrael (Tribes of Israel), was formerly a bulker, registered in Antigua, and built in 1974. Looking at the ship, it is quite similar to the original Arutz 7 ship. The ship's original name was MV Lida. It is 206ft long, 35ft wide, and weighs 1480 tons, a little less than the original Arutz 7 ship, Hatzvi, which was broken up last year in Turkey.

The ship was purchased from a company in Holland, and is being refitted into a radio ship in a port not too far from Israel. If all goes to plan, the ship should arrive off of the Israeli coast by the beginning of June.

To anyone thinking this is an April fools joke, apart from the picture seen here, I will supply other CLEAR pictures of the boat (under its original name of course), to anyone that asks. More details, when I have them.

Mike Brand
Israel

 

Thursday March 18th 2004

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From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

Knesset Finance Committee Preparing National Radio Bill 
09:15 Mar 16, '04 / 23 Adar 5764

(IsraelNN.com) The Knesset Finance Committee today will continue efforts to prepare a bill for a second a third reading, a bill intended to clear the way for three new national radio stations.

The bill authored by Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert addresses the need for stations catering to the different segments of the population, including religious Jews and Arabs. Proponents are excited over the prospect of introducing an alternative to the left wing dominated state run Kol Yisrael (Israel Radio), explaining for many audiences, including the two mentioned, Galei Tzahal (Army Radio) does not provide the content sought by listeners.

Opponents of the bill insist it is nothing more than a smokescreen to legitimize Arutz-7, which was silenced by a court ruling about six months ago. Since that time, there has been no national radio station that provides a patriotic Jewish agenda.

 

Monday March 1st 2004

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Hi All,

It is quite obvious now that this new Palestinian - Israeli radio station is feeding me disinformation. They have told me two frequencies, which, if you look at them, are in no way suitable for a new radio station. 

I was told 99.9FM. This is crazy, because it would interfere with Radius on 100FM.

Also, yesterday, I was told 100.8FM. This would also not be good, as they would interfere with Reshet Aleph, and Radio Jerusalem, on 100.7 and 101 respectively.

I don't know when (if) they will come on the air, It seems that no one is giving them a license to broadcast. If they do, their frequency is a very close guarded secret. They might come on the air, but no one will knowwhere and when!

I suppose they could always broadcast from a boat, but the Europeans wouldn't like that. My question is, why would the EC give this station nearly 600,000 Euros, if they knew they didn't have a license to broadcast?

Mike

 

Friday February 27th 2004

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Hi All,

May I first state, that this station may not call itself the Voice of Peace. As in the Egyptian report, it says thay will be calling themselves the "Sounds of Peace". This station does not have the permission of Abie Nathan to use the name Voice of Peace. Second. I have been told that there will be no English broadcasts. Third. Abie Nathan has not given his permission to this station to use the musical library and jingles of the Voice of Peace.

Mike Brand

Ramallah, 25 February: The Ministry of Information has denied Israeli media reports to the effect that it issued a license to a joint Palestinian-Israeli radio station. In a statement issued today, the General Press and Publications Department, which is the only authority in charge of issuing licences to the mass media, said that it has not granted a license to any joint Palestinian-Israeli radio station. It explained that it had only issued two three-month licenses to a Palestinian radio station called the Voice of Peace, noting that the two licenses expired on 22 February. 

Hani al-Masri, director of the department, said that the ministry's policy is based on cultural and political pluralism, noting that the department encourages creativity and all initiatives that call for the achievement of a just peace. He, however, noted that this does not allow any side to impose the policy of the fait accompli. 

Al-Masri went on to say that any radio station that includes foreigners and is financed by a foreign side must secure a political approval, an approval from the Ministry of Interior, and an approval from the Ministry of Telecommunications, which is the only side in charge of transmission-related issues. He noted that such a radio station must also lease a frequency. 

Source: Palestinian news agency Wafa web site, Gaza, in Arabic 25 Feb 04 

-------------------------------------


West Bank and Gaza/Israel: Palestinian-Israeli radio to hit airwaves for peace 

Ramallah, 26 Feb (MENA) - A new Palestinian-Israeli radio station will hit the airwaves within weeks to promote peace. Funded by the European Union, the Sound of Peace radio will be transmitted on the clear FM from the West Bank Bank city of Ramallah. The radio's director, Maisa Sinyora, said it will call for co-existence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Israeli co-director, Shimon Malka, said he contacted Members of Knesset, noting legal steps were being taken to launch the new radio. 

Source: MENA news agency, Cairo, in English 0723 gmt 26 Feb 04 

-------------------------------------


Feb. 25, 2004
Joint Israeli-Palestinian radio launched in Ramallah
By KHALED ABU TOAMEH

The Palestinian Authority denied on Wednesday that it had granted permission to a joint Israeli-Palestinian radio station to broadcast from Ramallah. 

The new station, called the Voice of Peace, is funded by the European Union and is expected to start its broadcasts in the next few weeks. The station was inaugurated in Ramallah on Tuesday. 

The PA Ministry of Information said that it was the only body authorized to issue a license to radio and TV stations and that it did not grant a permit to the joint radio station. 

The ministry said, however, that a Palestinian radio station carrying the same name had asked for a license to broadcast from Ramallah. A three-month temporary license was granted to the station, but it expired on February 22, the ministry said. 

Hani al-Masri, a senior official with the ministry, said that any station that is co-owned or funded by non-Palestinians needs permission from the Palestinian political leadership, as well as the PA ministries of interior and communications. 

The Palestinian director of the Voice of Peace, Mayssa Siniora, said the broadcasts would focus on issues of coexistence between the Palestinians and Israelis and promote peace. 

Mossi Raz, deputy director-general of Givat Haviva and former Meretz MK, said the radio would broadcast in Arabic, English and Hebrew. The radio station would receive the musical library and the jingles of peace activist Abie Nathan's Voice of Peace radio station, which used to broadcast from a ship until it closed in 1993. 

Hanna Siniora, publisher of The Jerusalem Times and one of the founders of the station, said PA Chairman Yasser Arafat has given his blessing to the new station. 

The station's birth is due to the generous contribution by the European Union, which approved the donation. "The EU's donation represents 79.5% of the 600,000 budget and we will contact other donors to raise the rest of the amount," said Siniora. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

 

Wednesday February 18th 2004

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Hi All,

According to the judge that sentenced the "Arutz 7 ten", Yaacov Katz will serve his six month community service in a charity organisation called Ezer Mitzion (Help from Zion, a religious charity organisation). Shlomit Melamed, will serve her three month community, at the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem.

The guilty Arutz 7 staff, have appealed against the sentences, which are not only community service, but heavy fines as well. Because of this, the community service will be postponed, until their appeal has been heard. The fines have already been paid (over 800,00 shekels - $180,000), and if their appeal is accepted, the fines will be returned to them.

I (MB) think that one of the reasons the Arutz 7 ship was sold so fast, was to cover the expected fines, if found guilty. But they were not expected
to be fined so much.

Mike

 

Wednesday February 11th 2004

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Hi All,

The new Israeli-Palestinian peace radio station that will be coming on air on the 22nd February, will be calling themselves "All for peace".

This is a way of getting round using the name Kol Hashalom in Hebrew (Kol Hashalom means Voice of Peace). The owners of the station could not use the name Voice of Peace, because Abie Nathan did not give his permission to them to use it. He said he didn't want the name being used for political purposes.

The Hebrew word KOL can be spelt two ways in the Hebrew language. One word means "Voice" , and the other, "All" . The new peace station are using the word spelt for "All" , but over the air etc, they will be calling themselves Kol Hashalom. So anyone listening, will not differentiate between the two, and think that the VOP has returned.

Quite a stroke of genius I may say, and a very good way of getting around the refusal of Abie Nathan to use the name. For this reason I think, there will be no programmes in the English language, because they cannot use the name "Voice of Peace".

They will also be an Internet site in the weeks to come. The address will be: www.allforpeace.org

Mike

 

From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

Appeals Against Arutz-7 Sentences From Both Directions 
19:21 Feb 10, '04 / 18 Shevat 5764

Four Arutz-7 directors and broadcasters have filed an appeal against their conviction over three months ago of operating an unlicensed radio station. The four are: Rabbi Zalman Melamed, Chairman of Arutz-7's Board of Directors; News Department Head Haggai Segal; French Department Head David Shapira; and music broadcaster Gidi Sharon.

The four maintain that their conviction was based on false and purposeful testimony by Communications Ministry personnel, and that they "did not violate any criminal law; they acted for a worthy goal, while preserving the law, on the one hand, and by insisting on their sacred right to freedom of expression, on the other."

Similarly, the companies that operated the ship from where the broadcasts emanated have appealed against the heavy fines levied upon them.

The appeal also states that the ship "sailed for many years on 'calm waters,' with Prime Ministers and government ministers and others visiting it and speaking on Arutz-7's airwaves." Others of the ten convicted Arutz-7 workers are also likely to appeal in the near future.

Yesterday, the State Prosecution appealed the "lenient" sentences handed down against four defendants: Executive-Director Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, Programming Director Shulamit Melamed, Engineer Ya'ir Meir, and News Editor Haggai Segal. The Prosecution also asks for higher fines against the ship's operating companies - which currently stand at a total of 450,000 shekels.

Four of the defendants were sentenced to 3-6 months of community service each. The ten were also fined between 20,000 and 50,000 shekels each, in addition to Arutz-7 corporate fines to the tune of 450,000 shekels.

 

Radio Station Law Passes First Reading 
18:02 Feb 05, '04 / 13 Shevat 5764

Another small step towards the reinstatement of Arutz-7 was passed this week, as the Knesset voted on the first reading of a bill to authorize three additional nationwide radio stations. In a 47-17 vote, the Knesset voted to authorize the government to establish three radio stations for specific population sectors, such as hareidim, Yesha residents, and English-speakers. Communications Minister Ehud Olmert, in coordination with Prime Minister Sharon, proposed the legislation. 

The bill must pass at least three hurdles, from Arutz-7's standpoint: One of the sectors must be Yesha-based; Arutz-7 or an associated body must win the tender; and the Supreme Court must approve, or at least not reject, the law. A Communications Ministry official said two months ago, when the bill was first proposed, that though there is no guarantee that Arutz-7 would win a tender for one of the stations, "We hope that Arutz-7 will win." 

Israel currently has only two nationwide stations: IDF Army Radio, with two channels, and government-operated Voice of Israel, with approximately seven.

 

Thursday February 5th 2004

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From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

Arutz-7 Law To Be Voted On Today 
17:14 Feb 03, '04 / 11 Shevat 5764

The Knesset is set to vote today on a first-reading of the new Arutz-7 law, proposed by Communications Minister Ehud Olmert. It is expected to pass, despite requests by Labor to reschedule it in light of Labor's party convention today. The bill will then be sent to a Knesset committee, and will then be brought for its final readings.

The proposed law will authorize the government to establish three designated-audience radio stations for specific population sectors, such as the religious, Russian immigrants, residents of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, etc. Arutz-7 will be permitted to participate in the tenders for these stations. 

Labor MK Eitan Cabel has already announced that if the bill becomes law, he will petition against it in the Supreme Court. It will be recalled that following a similar petition by Cabel, the Supreme Court struck down, in 2002, a three-year-old law legalizing Arutz-7. 



Bill That May Reinstate Arutz-7 Broadcasts Passes 1st Reading 
12:12 Feb 04, '04 / 12 Shevat 5764

(IsraelNN.com) The bill to license several more nationwide, sector-based radio stations has passed its first reading in the Knesset. Arutz-7 Radio would be allowed to compete in the tenders for the proposed stations. There are only two nationwide stations at present, IDF Radio and the state-run Voice of Israel. 

47 Knesset Members approved the bill, with 17 objecting. 

The bill was tabled by Minister of Communications Ehud Olmert, in coordination with the Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. The bill, developed over recent months, was based on a 2001 bill aimed at retroactively licensing pirate stations affiliated with the Shas movement. 

 

From the Israeli paper Haaretz:

Knesset passes first reading of Arutz 7 bill

The Knesset approved Wednesday the first reading of a government-sponsored bill that would allow right-wing pirate radio station Arutz 7 to compete for a broadcasting license. The first reading passed by 47 votes to 17. Opposition lawmakers said the bill was designed to appease the settler-run station, which was shut down several months ago. Managers and employees of the station were subsequently convicted of operating a radio station without a license. They were handed sentences ranging from three to six months. 

Communications Minister Ehud Olmert, who initiated the bill, said an assumption that the legislation was aimed at one specific group was unfounded. According to Olmert, the law was formulated by top experts from his department. If passed, the new law will allow the communications ministry to award broadcast licenses to radio stations that appeal primarily to specific sectors of society or those that have a unique characteristic, such as an alternative language or culture. The law would also grant to the government powers to decide which targeted stations are licensed, in accordance with demographic requirements.

 

Wednesday December 31st 2003

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Hi All,

I received a photo from Gerald de Rode this morning. We were so caught up with the Hatzvi in the shipbreakers yard, that we didn't notice a bucket hanging off the bow of the ship. Looking at the pictures again, I DO see it, but on others, I did not. What do you make of it? The ship is in two colours of blue - why were they painting it - to have it broken up?

Why was the ship sold so fast (maybe they knew they would receive heavy fines, and had to find a quick way to raise funds?), and what are Arutz 7's plans now ? According to their news update, it is not sure if they will compete for one of the three tenders that will be issued soon. So what now? They also mention upcoming TV broadcasts. This could be related to the very recent satellite, Amos 2 (thanks Tim !), just put in space by Israel.

Everything is still open. The story of Arutz 7 is FAR from over .......

Happy New Year to everyone

Mike

 

Tuesday December 30th 2003

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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 courtroom.


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.

Mike

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 country."

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 online edition:

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 years.

 

From 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 stations.

 

Thursday December 25th 2003

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From the Arutz 7 Daily News Update:

WOMEN IN GREEN TO DEMONSTRATE FOR ARUTZ-7
The Women in Green organization is planning a demonstration on behalf of Arutz-7 this coming Monday at 1:30 PM, outside the Jerusalem Magistrates Court in the Russian Compound. The "Arutz-7 ten," who were found guilty two months ago of operating an unlicensed radio station, will be sentenced at that time. 

The prosecution asked for prison sentences for up to four of the defendants, as well as fines of "hundreds of thousands of shekels" for several of them.

The Women in Green announcement, signed by Co-Chairpersons Ruth and Nadia Matar, reads: 
"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 that 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.
"Come with your friends, neighbors and relatives en masse, on Monday afternoon to show your identification with, and appreciation for Arutz-7!"

Protesters Call for Resumption of Arutz-7 Broadcasts 
15:58 Dec 25, '03 / 30 Kislev 5764

(IsraelNN.com) Protesters outside the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem this afternoon demanded the resumption of Arutz-7 Radio that was shut down by the government.


Hi All,

The picture is a Hebrew poster asking people to turn out next Monday 29/12/03 at a Jerusalem courthouse, for the handing down on the sentences of the "Arutz 7 TEN".

The headline reads "Everyone is Arutz 7, everyone is guilty!!" The actual decision of the judge will guide the way Arutz 7 will act in the future. As soon as I get the judges decision, I will telll you.

Mike

 

Sunday December 14th 2003

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Arutz 7 - More Pictures

Hi All,

Here are more pictures from the shipbreakers yard. Look at the third picture, it is a close up. Here you can see TWO shades of blue. One at the front (where the name is) and the other, for the rest of the ship. The original shade of blue is at the front, but still, the name has been repainted in a kind of a haphazardness kind of way. BUT what may do it for me, is the ORIGINAL name of the ship, appears below the name Hatzvi, and this is how it appears on the ship. Also, you can see the radio equipment that was on the ship.

So I think my doubts have been cleared away now. It certainly looks like the ship is gone! By the way, the whole ship was sold to this yard for $100,000. Here is the e-mail to me, concerning the breakup procedure:

Dear Mr. Brand,
Turkish ship breaking conditions is very different from Europe and also from far east Asian countries. This characteristic is due to our sea and coastal conditions and due to our limitation to use only 1.5 km length of cost (around 25 companies). We removed radio station equipments' container safely from vessel and we intend to resale it to its interests both in domestic and international.


Mike 

 

Thursday December 11th 2003

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Arutz 7 - The End (2)

I received the following message from the Turkish shipyard where the A7 ship is being broken up. You will see his permission to publish the photos, plus a little bit of an explanation of what has been taken off the ship. Wonder what they are going to do with it?

Dear Mr. Brand,
We dismantle 2/3'th of the vessel already. Remaining parts are; engine spaces, half of double bottom and aft of vessel. But we removed safely the Cummins Gen-Sets, Radio related equipment (excluding cables) at the moment.

Call me paranoiac, but I have reservations about the pictures that were sent to me by the Turkish Shipbreaking yard. At first look, there is no doubt that this is the A7 ship, but looking a little deeper, there are many things that "disturb" me (don't worry, I still sleep at night !).

First of all, the main thing is that the ship is a deeper blue, than when she was anchored off the Israeli coast. The last published picture of the boat was about a month ago, and it was still light blue, and had rust all along its right side (looking from the front - forgive my lack of seaman's language). So why the repaint? To get broken up?

If you look at the pictures below, there are several differences. Also, if you go to my Internet site, and look at pictures that Dr. Martin van der Ven and I took when we went to visit the ship(s) about 4 years ago, there are close-ups of the A7 ship. Look at those pictures, and the ones that I was sent by the shipbreaking yard.

Just one small example : Look at where the name is painted. It has moved slightly to the left.

So? Am I paranoiac? You tell me!

Have a good day

Mike 

 

Wednesday December 10th 2003

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Arutz 7 - The End !!

After a few e-mails that I sent to Turkish shipbreaker yards a few days ago, I received this e-mail when I came into work this morning. 

Shalom Mr. Mike Brand, 
I Bought "M/V Hatz VI" from a broker in Greece. We started to dismantle her already. Her pictures just after beeching operation and Dismantling works are attached. 
My company name is : Mariner LTD / Aliaga-Izmir-Turkey

This kind gentleman also enclosed two pictures "before and after" or, as you will see, "during". There is no mistake, this is the "Hatzvi". So if anyone is searching, the ship has been broken up.

One small thing DID disturb me though. The last picture I saw of the boat, it had rust all along it's right side (when you look at it from the front!), in the picture enclosed, most of the rust has gone, and also, the ship seemed to have been repainted a different shade of blue. Maybe they had a repaint since that last picture.

Anyway, that is it, the boat is gone, stopping any speculation about its future. One cannot argue with the pictures. 

Mike

Click HERE for the pictures.


From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Communications Minister Wants To License Arutz-7 
16:15 Dec 10, '03 / 15 Kislev 5764

Ehud Olmert, in his capacity as Communications Minister, said on Monday that he intends to find a way for Arutz-7 to resume its broadcasts. He said that he has asked for a meeting in the coming days with Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid of Shinui to discuss the option of enabling Arutz-7 to function as a regional station for Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza). He made the remarks during a guest appearance before the Knesset Finance Committee. 

Olmert said that in his ongoing contacts with the heads of Arutz-7, the possibility of granting a digital frequency was discussed. However, it developed that the high price of digital radio receivers renders this option unrealistic at present.

In response to a complaint by MK Nissim Dahan (Shas) about the lack of a licensed hareidi radio station, Olmert said that he is also open to such a possibility, and that he would take steps in this direction.

Arutz-7 ceased its radio broadcasts in late October when ten of its directors, engineers and broadcasters were convicted on various charges of running an illegal station. The conviction was handed down despite the fact that the station had invested millions of dollars in order to broadcast from a ship several kilometers off of Israel's shore. To the consternation of many - including even Labor MK Eitan Cabel, who led the legal case against Arutz-7 - the prosecution asked for prison sentences for several of the defendants. Sentencing for the Arutz-7 ten has been set for Dec. 29. 

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin, who served in the past as Minister of Communications, wrote a letter to the sentencing judge, Justice Yoram Noam. He wrote that Arutz-7 "fulfills the need of a public sector that numbers hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens, who feel that the official radio stations do not speak their language, do not reflect their culture, and are not relevant to their daily lives... 
"The directors of Arutz-7... turned Arutz-7 into a mainstream station, with most impressive listening figures. Hundreds of thousands of listeners, in Israel and abroad, rely on it as their main media source, if not their only one... The main problem with pirate radio stations is that they [disturb licensed radio operators and endanger air-traffic]. However, to my knowledge, Arutz-7 broadcasts never caused such disturbances. For this reason, action was not taken against Arutz-7 - except for transparently political reasons only..."

Although its radio broadcasts were ceased, Arutz-7 never stopped its internet broadcasts. In addition, the Hebrew broadcasts can be heard in Israel for the price of a local call at 03-6066-777 (from abroad: 9723-6066-777). They can also be heard at cellular phone costs at 05-777-7777. 

 

Sunday November 30th 2003

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Last offshore radio ship broken up

After having a conversation this afternoon with Yoel Tzur, one of the managers of Arutz 7, and one of the Arutz 7 ten, awaiting their sentences at the end of this year for illegal broadcasting, he informed me that the Arutz 7 ship has been broken up.

He told me that the deal was brokered through a company in Piraeus, and the station got a very good deal. I myself informed the station of two people who wanted to use the ship (for legal purposes!), but my inquiry came too late, as the deal had already been finalized.

He also went on to tell me, that the station will, in future, operate only within the framework of the law, and are awaiting for the Knesset to introduce legislation for the station to be legalized.

If what Yoel Tzur told me is true, then this is really the end of offshore radio broadcasting from the high seas.

Mike


INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED AGAINST ARUTZ-7 INTERNET

Apparently not satisfied with the closure of Arutz-7 Radio, Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein has instructed the police to launch an investigation against the managers of the Arutz-7 website. Rubenstein said he had looked into and found valid a complaint by MK Zahava Gal'on (Meretz), who claimed that an article entitled, "Expulsion, not Transfer" constituted a violation of laws against incitement. 

Gal'on honed in on a sentence in an op-ed on Arutz-7's Hebrew site, which she said was a call to "murder hundreds of thousands of Palestinians." Though Arutz-7 does not endorse the opinions it publishes in its op-ed section, it should be noted that the sentence in question was taken out of context, and does not incite to murder. In fact, the author, Gil Ronen, writes in the article, "no one will have to take the law into his own hands." 

The article's basic assumption was that as there is no chance for reaching peace with the Arabs of Yesha (Judea and Samaria), there is therefore no alternative but to "remove this 'nation' from our midst." Ronen wrote that he does not support transfer, as "the Palestinians are not European Jews, and we are not Germans." Instead, he suggests a "gradual deterioration" in which the war against terrorists expands, including more targeted killings, more house demolitions, and more air raids. 

"No one will have to take the law into his own hands," Ronen writes. "It's enough that officers and soldiers interpret their instructions as broadly as possible and employ maximum force," noting as an example that if a Jewish neighborhood is fired on, the military response should not be limited to one specific window or house, but to the entire row of houses from where the attack emanated. The sentence quoted by MK Gal'on reads, "The only ones who will die will be Palestinians, and whoever doesn't want to die, will be forced to run away." 

Gal'on implied that Ronen's exhortation to abandon dangerous house-to-house searches for terrorists in favor of air-bombings is a form of incitement "togenocide of hundreds of thousands of innocent Palestinians." The house-to-house searches have claimed many Israeli soldiers' lives in the past.

As is well-known, Ronen is not the first one to have called for a "stronger arm" against the Arabs of Yesha since the onset of the Oslo War over three years ago. Following a wave of Palestinian terrorism in Dec. 2001, for instance, MK Eliezer Cohen (Yisrael Beiteinu) said, "This is war, not just terrorism, and we must fight back accordingly. They are fighting us with all of their resources and weaponry, and we must do the same. Our army knows exactly what to do, and it is time to do it."

 

Tuesday November 25th 2003

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From today's Arutz 7 daily news update:

Knesset legislators, particularly Tzvi Hendel and Uri Ariel of the National Union, continue to make efforts to find the appropriate legislative solution enabling Arutz-7 to broadcast regularly. Sentencing for the Arutz-7 ten has been set for Dec. 29. In a letter to the sentencing judge, Justice Yoram Noam, Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin wrote the following: 

"Arutz-7, as other radio stations, fulfills the need of a public sector that numbers hundreds of thousands of law-abiding citizens, who feel that the official radio stations do not speak their language, do not reflect their culture, and are not relevant to their daily lives. As Minister of Communications, I felt that it was incumbent upon me to try to regulate the activities of stations such as Arutz-7, and I planned [such steps] together with the government...

"The reason that Arutz-7 was forced to operate outside the law [from offshore] is because of the lack of available radio frequencies... When digital radio technology becomes operative, the problem will be solved... Within a few years, no one will understand what all the ruckus was about, because dozens of radio stations will be able to broadcast at once.

"The directors of Arutz-7... turned Arutz-7 into a mainstream station, with most impressive listening figures. Hundreds of thousands of listeners, in Israel and abroad, rely on it as their main media source, if not their only one...

"The main problem with pirate radio stations is that they [disturb licensed radio operators and endanger air-traffic]. However, to my knowledge, Arutz-7 broadcasts never caused such disturbances. For this reason, action was not taken against Arutz-7 - unless for transparently political reasons only..."

 

Sunday November 23rd 2003

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Last offshore radio ship leaves its anchorage

Hi All,

After receiving an e-mail from Arutz 7 last Friday, and having it confirmed by Tim Scrimshaw this morning, the Arutz 7 ship has left its anchorage off the Tel-Aviv coast.

According to the e-mail, it has gone to be scrapped. If I receive anymore news, or pictures, I will publish it / them on the "Israeli Offshore Radio Site".

Mike

 

Wednesday November 19th 2003

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From today's Haaretz newspaper:

State seeks stiff terms for Arutz Sheva heads 
By Yuval Yoaz

The state yesterday urged the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court to sentence the heads of the pirate radio station Arutz Sheva to prison terms and fines, and the station's announcers to fines and suspended sentences. 

The court is currently discussing sentencing for the 10 station heads and announcers convicted last month of illegally operating a radio station. Ya'akov Katz, one of the station's directors, was also convicted of perjury.

Prosecutor Shimon Dolan asked the court to impose a severe sentence on Katz, both because the offense was committed over a period of so many years, and because he submitted false affidavits to the High Court of Justice last year in response to a petition regarding the station's legality. In those affidavits, he stated that Arutz Sheva was not broadcasting from Israeli territory. "Any other sentence will send a message that will encourage deceiving the courts at every level," Dolan said. 

The prosecution also argued that Yoel Tzur, one of the station's directors, should receive a severe sentence, especially because he lied about consequential issues during the investigation. But because Tzur recently suffered a family tragedy, Dolan said, the prosecution would accept a sentence of six months of community service and a fine of hundreds of thousands of shekels.

 

Tuesday November 18th 2003

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Hi All,

I received a report this morning from someone who picked up Arutz 7 on 105.2 FM last night. In an e-mail to me this morning, he writes (I am translating from Hebrew to English):

On my way home last night, I decided to check up on 105.2. To my surprise, I picked up a weak signal of Arutz 7. 

The signal was very weak, and I am not sure if the broadcast was coming from the West Bank, Jerusalem, or from the ship outside of Israeli territorial waters ( last time I saw the ship, it was about a mile off the coast of Tel-Aviv - Mike ). Anything is possible. I think the transmitter was relaying the Internet broadcasts, this according
to the sound quality.

This could be the Arutz 7 people, or Arutz 7 supporters, but it could also be people who are opposed to the station, as provocation in preparation for the sentences to be handed down today - as if the station is still broadcasting.

This report was sent to me by Roni Amira.

Mike

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Pre-Sentencing For the Arutz-7 Ten 
16:50 Nov 18, '03 / 23 Cheshvan 5764

Close to 200 singing yeshiva students accompanied Rabbi and Mrs. Zalman Baruch Melamed on their way out of Beit El to the Jerusalem Magistrates Courthouse this morning. The two, as well as eight other directors, broadcasters and employees of Arutz-7, took part in a pre-sentencing session, following their conviction a month ago for broadcasting illegally. Rabbi Melamed told his students, just before leaving Beit El, "We know that from every setback, we grow stronger." The singing students then resumed: "Take counsel together [O nations], and it shall come to naught... for G-d is with us." (Isaiah 8)

Rabbi Melamed told Arutz-7's Yigal Shok what he was planning to tell the judge today:
"...Not only were we ten defendants put on trial, but many more people as well: the hundreds of people who have regular programs on Arutz-7, including the Chief Rabbis, the Knesset Speaker, Cabinet ministers, Knesset Members, leading lawyers, professors, thinkers, and more. The Prosecution has also put on trial, together with us, the thousands of contributors who are our partners, as well as the hundreds of thousands of listeners who are so greatly in need of the media that Arutz-7 offers. 
"The media silencing of such a large public creates a gash in the nation, and the court proceedings against Arutz-7 make it even worse. This is not a criminal suit, as the Prosecution wishes to claim - because one cannot put on trial the hundreds of thousands of people who are full partners in the existence of the station. These people identify not only with the people behind Arutz-7, but with the actual act of founding and running the station. 
"Together with Arutz-7, an entire public has been convicted for having dared to found a medium that meets its needs, and for having fought for free communication." 

Arutz-7's Effie Meir reported from the courthouse that the prosecution asked for prison sentences for four of the defendants - Mrs. Shulamit Melamed, Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), engineer Ya'ir Meir, and Haggai Segal - although it said it would settle for "public service" for Segal. The lawyers said they don't demand prison time for Rabbi Melamed, who was not involved in the day-to-day running of the station; nor for Yoel Tzur, in light of his "personal situation" - his wife and son were murdered by terrorists almost seven years ago - but rather a large fine, together with "public service" that would enable him to return home each day.

The prosecution also asked for large fines of hundreds of thousands of shekels each for Rabbi Melamed, Ketzaleh, and Segal, and smaller fines for French department head David Shapira and broadcaster Gideon Sharon. No punishment was asked for fiery nationalist broadcaster Adir Zyk, in view of his ill health, and a fine was requested for the ship's captain, Sha'ul Avni, because of his advanced age.

The Prosecution explained why, in its opinion, the judge should mete out significantly harsher sentences than in other cases of illegal broadcasting: because Arutz-7 broadcast over a period of 15 years, and over several channels, and not only from the sea, and because the defendants are public leaders and "positive people" who must serve as an example. Arutz-7 sources stated that these points actually work in favor of Arutz-7: It broadcast for such a long time and over more than one station precisely because it has such a large audience. In addition, it is precisely these "positive people" who invested so much time and effort to provide hundreds of thousands of people with the Jewish and educational programming that they wanted.

During a break in the court proceedings, before the defense team began to present its case, Adir Zyk said he regretted that his ill health prevents him from "facing the music" like all the others. 

 

Monday November 17th 2003

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From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Pre-Sentencing Session For Arutz-7 
16:29 Nov 17, '03 / 22 Cheshvan 5764

Tomorrow at 11 AM, in the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, Justice Yoram Noam will hear the prosecution and defense teams in the Arutz-7 case plead their respective cases in preparation for sentencing. Ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members were convicted on Oct. 20 of broadcasting without a license, thus violating broadcast and telegraph laws, and related crimes punishable by between three and seven years. Justice Noam, it will be recalled, sentenced a man to three years in prison for tossing hot tea on then-Labor MK Yael Dayan in October 1996. 

Some supporters of Arutz-7 have called on the public to recite Psalms on behalf of the ten - specifically Chapters 35, 37, and 57. The ten who were convicted 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; 
* His wife Shulamit Melamed, long-time educational counselor at Tzviya Girls High School, co-founder of Arutz-7, and programming director and station manager; 
* Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, 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, founding member of the community of Beit El; 
* Yoel Tzur, Director of Arutz-7, IDF battalion commander in reserves, founding member of the community of Beit El, lost his wife and son in terrorist attack in 1996; 
* Haggai Segal, Arutz-7 News Director, activist on behalf of the Jewish population in Yesha and author of several books on the history of modern settlement in Yesha; 
* Adir Zik, veteran fiery nationalist broadcaster; 
* Gidi Sharon, veteran music broadcaster, considered one of those responsible for the revival of Sephardic (Jewish-Mideastern) music in Israel; 
* David Shapira, broadcaster and director of Arutz-7's French department; 
* Ya'ir Meir, engineer; and 
* Sha'ul Avni, captain of Arutz-7's Eretz HaTzvi ship.

Supporters of Arutz-7 are asked to write personal letters to various Knesset Members - addressed simply to Hon. [MK's name], the Knesset, Jerusalem, Israel - requesting that they support legislation to recognize Arutz-7 as a legal radio station representing a legitimate and important sector in Israeli society.

 

Monday November 17th 2003

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After the closure last week of ITIM (the Israeli news agency, run by the top Israeli papers) with debts of over 2 million shekels (about $440,000), Arutz 7 announced last week that they are about to organize their own news agency, called the "New Israeli news agency".

The Arutz 7 news dept. have already turned to potential journalists, in order to employ them in the new agency. Many of the journalists are members of ITIM, and they will have to decide if they want to continue with ITIM for the time being (under administration, appointed by the Government), or to work for the new agency.

The Arutz 7 News Director, Hagi Segal, confirmed that their are plans to start the "New Israeli news agency". He added, that despite the connection between the new agency and Arutz 7, it will be run independently, and not under the Arutz 7 umbrella.

From within Arutz 7, it is reported that the new agency has already began to "practice" operations, and connections are being made with different radio/TV/newspaper organizations. According to the new agency, they have already received unofficial confirmation from several places, that they will use the new agency.


Translated from today's Hebrew paper Maariv.

 

Wednesday November 12th 2003

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From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Olmert Working to Legislate Law to Accommodate Arutz-7 (IsraelNN.com) 

Vice Prime Minister & Minister of Industry & Trade (Likud) Ehud Olmert announced his office is working towards introducing legislation that would accommodate new nationwide radio stations, admitting his efforts are motivated by the closure of Arutz-7. Olmert commented today that his feelings towards Arutz-7 and its loyal audience are well-known, and he will continue efforts towards introducing the required legislation to get the silenced radio station up and running.

The minister added that while Arutz-7 is missed, the “law is the law” and there can be no special allocations made for Arutz-7.

 

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