Latest Offshore Radio News From Israel

Mike Brand presenting news and background stories

 

Sunday November 9th 2003

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Arutz 7

Hi All,

After going down to the coast over the weekend, I can tell you all that the Arutz 7 ship "Eretz Hatzvi" is still at anchor, about a mile or so off the coast of Tel-Aviv.

This is contrary to statements made on the Arutz 7 site last Wednesday, that the ship was to sail at 4pm on Wednesday afternoon to Turkey to be broken up.

The ship has moved a bit, and is now anchored about a mile or so between its old anchorage opposite the Tel-Aviv Marina, and the coastal town of Hertzelia. It is anchored opposite the beach where the King David ran aground nearly three years ago.

Mike

 

Wednesday November 5th 2003

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Arutz 7 ship sold - sailing to Turkey to be scrapped 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Arutz-7 Sells "Eretz HaTzvi" Ship 
16:13 Nov 05, '03 / 10 Cheshvan 5764

An important chapter in Arutz-7 history ends today, with the sale of the Eretz HaTzvi ship. Yoel Tzur, Arutz-7's Technical Manager, said today that the ship has been sold for scrap, and that at "4:00 this afternoon it will leave for Izmir in Turkey, where it will be taken apart and sawed down." Tzur said that there had been two other options: "To sell it for use as a ship, but since it's 35 years old - built in Hungary in 1968 - it did not attract too many buyers... The other option was simply to sink it, which we did not want to do. Every day it stands idle in the ocean it costs us money, so we chose to sell it for scrap."

Asked to recount some of his memories of the Eretz HaTzvi, Tzur said, "There were very many. In the summer, we enjoyed going out to the ship, to go fishing and have a barbecue... In the winter, there were storms and difficulties getting the tapes out there, and the broadcasters and crew would complain that they wanted to get off... It was a period of a lot of tension and a lot of responsibility. But this period is over, and we're headed now for even bigger things - apparently this wasn't big enough for us..." Interviewer Ariel Kahane, who spent over a year as a broadcaster on the ship, agreed that it was a special experience. "One thing I remember is how we used to supply food to Abie Natan's Voice of Peace crew," he said.

 

"It was a period of a lot of tension and a lot of responsibility. But this period is over, and we're headed now for even bigger things - apparently this wasn't big enough for us..." 

I wonder what Yoel Tzur means by this ? Only time will tell I expect.
Stay tuned

Mike

 

Tuesday November 4th 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

The Knesset Debate Regarding Arutz-7 
16:06 Nov 04, '03 / 9 Cheshvan 5764

MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad proposed that one of the frequencies allotted to the PA and used for anti-Israel incitement and hatred be assigned to Arutz-7 instead. 

Part of the Knesset debate yesterday revolved around the topic of Arutz-7, its closure, and the possibility of resuming its broadcasts. "According to what they always told us," said MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union), "the problem with allowing Arutz-7 to broadcast is rooted in the lack of frequencies, as it is a scarce national resource. Yet, in the framework of the peace-illusions of the Oslo Agreements, the State of Israel allocated no fewer than eight frequencies to the Palestinian Authority so that it could bear the tidings of peace... But what they in fact did with this precious national resource of ours, we know very well: they broadcast the mosques' incitement to murder us, and they filmed the staging of bus-bombings, and the emotional partings between mothers and their murderer-sons... The broadcasts teach young [PA Arabs] that shahids don't actually die, but go to a heaven where 72 dark-eyed virgins await them. After seeing this 20 times a day on our scarce national resource, they run out to put on an explosive vest and blow up Jews..." Eldad therefore proposed that Israel now offer these frequencies to Israeli stations such as Arutz-7, "the voice of a very large public in Israel."

MK Eli Yeshai (Shas) said that Arutz-7 and hareidi stations should have been approved long ago. He expressed mild criticism of the Supreme Court for overturning, in March 2002, the Knesset law that recognized Arutz-7: "I would have expected the Court to instruct the government to find a solution to the problem, and to maintain the status quo until a solution is found." He also said that just as illegal buildings are often "laundered" and retroactively legalized by various urban planning regulations, the same should have been done for the hareidi radio stations. He praised Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin who, "as Communications Minister tried hard to solve the problem... there were some things that we couldn't compromise on... but the bottom line is that there is no legal hareidi station, and this is the result of the policy of 'silencing,' there is no freedom of speech, no freedom of expression, and this is a mark of shame for democracy."

Communications Minister Ehud Olmert responded with dripping irony to Yeshai for asking the government to ignore the law-breaking stations. "A former Deputy Prime Minister stands here and expresses astonishment at the government for wanting to enforce the law!" Yeshai attempted to respond from his seat that the intention was that the government should correct the law in accordance with the principles of freedom of speech so that there would be no need for pirate stations to break the law. Olmert also mocked the many groupings within the hareidi public, which, he said, made it difficult to find an agreed-upon solution. 

Olmert said that the number of analog frequencies are limited, "and there are maybe only three. They cannot be given out freely... and therefore it has to be by tender. Some say that there should be an 'open skies' policy for digital frequencies, but the problem is that there are not so many digital radios - each one costs a lot." Rivlin interjected: "$700 each." Olmert then said that he is willing "tomorrow morning" to declare a tender for "digital radio stations for whoever wants and meets the minimal requirements." Rivlin then cautioned him that he was going too far, as such an arrangement could cause problems of overlap with other stations. 

Olmert then said that the "settlement" public in Yesha deserves its own station, and that "we will hold a tender to choose the body that will be allowed to run this station." He said the same regarding a national hareidi station. MK Yitzchak Herzog of Labor interjected, "What about the Galilee settlement public?", to which Speaker Rivlin replied, "The Galilee settlements already have Reshet Bet and Reshet Aleph [Voice of Israel]." 

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, speaking on one of Arutz-7 Radio's last broadcasts two weeks ago, said, 
"The management of Arutz-7 and its supporters did everything they could to attain legal recognition and be able to broadcast, from land, the important and central voice of Torah, the nation, and the land. A law was even passed in the Knesset - but the Supreme Court, in a practically unprecedented decision, overturned it. Many initiatives to legalize Arutz-7 were raised, but were thwarted by Justice Ministry lawyers and others who objected to any type of solution. Even when it was decided that Arutz-7 could compete in a tender for regional radio, the membership of the committee was changed at the last minute so that it would not choose Arutz-7." 

Yesterday's Knesset session ended with a 19-9 vote to move the entire discussion, including MK Eldad's proposal to assign a PA frequency to Arutz-7, to a Knesset committee. 

I must add here, that Arutz 7 was not exactly kind to the Palestinian Authority to say the least, but did not incite to kill Palestinians.

Mike

 

Friday October 31st 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Next Target For Left-Wing: Arutz-7 Internet 
13:28 Oct 31, '03 / 5 Cheshvan 5764

Extreme left-wing MK Zahava Gal'on of Meretz is apparently not satisfied with the closure of Arutz-7's radio station, and has now turned her sights towards the station's internet site. 

Gal'on has asked Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein to open a criminal investigation into the operators of Arutz-7's internet site on suspicion of "incitement to murder and racism."

Gal'on honed in on a sentence in an op-ed on Arutz-7's Hebrew site, written by Gil Ronen, a resident of pre-1967 Israel, near Hadera. Gal'on says that his article is 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, Ronen writes in the article, "no one will have to take the law into his own hands."

The article's basic assumption is that as there is no chance for reaching peace with the Arabs of Yesha, 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." 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." 

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." 

Baruch Gordon, manager of Arutz-7's internet department, responded today, "According to the warped definition of democracy professed by the extreme left, nationalist-camp opinions are simply wrong and therefore illegitimate... What MK Gal'on is doing is proof that the left-wing's actions to shut down Arutz-7 Radio because of minor legal technicalities are merely stepping-stones along its ruthless path towards its real goal: the total silencing of the nationalist and traditional camp in Israel."

 

Thursday October 30th 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

A few unexpected praises came Arutz 7’s way in the past 24 hours from people not usually identified with the right or religious camp.

The first came from Eli Gorlitzki. He is chairman of the performers organization “Grapefruit“. He stated that stations that are “supposed“ to be legal, break the law everyday. Since they went on the air in 1995, they have not paid any royalties to Israeli artists, whilst Arutz 7, deemed as a pirate radio station, have strictly adhered to paying these royalties, as set down in law.

Gorlitzki also stated the Arutz 7 were the first radio station to play ONLY Hebrew language music, paid royalties as required, out of a love for Hebrew language music and its performers.

The second, and maybe more surprising statement, came from the normally left wing broadcast journalist Shelly Yichimovich. She asks that why was the letter of the law applied to Arutz 7, and not to other stations like Abie Nathan’s Voice Of Peace, and the tens of landbased pirate radio stations. With Arutz 7, and not with all the legal local commercial radio stations, which everyday, broadcast beyond the boundaries they are supposed to, as set down In the franchise they won.

Yichimovich continues: Arutz 7 has a right to exist. Its listeners do not have anywhere to go now the station has closed. They do not listen to other radio stations, and a lot of them do not have televisions (Ultra-Orthodox Jews are Not allowed to have T.V’s in their homes, in case they will be influenced by the secular way of life MB). Arutz 7’s News Director was part of the "Jewish Underground" 10 years ago, and was part of the incitement that was put out over the station before Rabin's assassination in 1995. This is all true she says, but goes on: Since 1995, there has been no incitement, and others that took part in that “bad spirit of 1995“ are now part of the (Israeli) Government - isn’t that double standards? When you push a part of the population, and certainly an ideological part Of the population, without leaving a channel for them to expressthemselves, no one wins.

Arutz 7 can chalk up to it’s credit, the revolution of the playing of Hebrew music on the radio, and also the bringing down the wall between the National Religious community and the media. A lot of journalists/broadcasters today come from the territories, and this revitalizes discussions on the radio and in the press. Even if Arutz 7 has gone, 
Yichimvoich sums up, I for one, am sorry.

This above was translated from two articles published on the Hebrew Internet site of Arutz 7. 

What Yichimovich fails to mention, or maybe it is through lack of knowledge, is that Arutz 7 had relay stations all over Israel, relaying its broadcasts that were coming from its studios at Bet-El. This is a landbased pirate radio station, and Not offshore, unlike Abie Nathans VOP which originated ONLY from the Peace ship anchored a mile or two (with the full agreement of the authorities) off the Tel-Aviv coast.

 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Arutz-7 Pays Royalties, and More 
16:23 Oct 30, '03 / 4 Cheshvan 5764

Illi Gorlitzky, chairman of Eshkolot, billed as "The Israel Artists Society for Performers' Rights," told Haaretz this week that the regional radio stations "violate the law every day" in not having ever paid Eshkolot a penny for playing its members' songs. "Arutz-7, however," he said, "which is considered a 'pirate' station, made sure to pay Israeli artists the royalty payments, as required by law, for playing their music." He said that Arutz-7 "played much Israeli music and paid royalties - for the simple reason that they love Israeli music and its performers."

Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid did not present to the Knesset yesterday the bill that would forbid advertising on unlicensed radio stations. It will be recalled that the Cabinet decided, with support from the Likud and Shinui ministers, to back this legislation early last week, in a move that was widely seen as being directed specifically against Arutz-7. Coalition whip Gideon Saar decided, however, that the coalition agreement allows "freedom of choice" for coalition MKs on this issue. Lapid realized that in fact most Likud MKs were planning to vote against the bill, and so he decided not to present it. 

 

Grassroot Reactions To Arutz-7's Closure 
16:48 Oct 30, '03 / 4 Cheshvan 5764 

It's been ten days now that Arutz-7 has been heard only on the internet and by phone, but not over the airwaves. 

Reactions of disappointed listeners were collected today in Arutz-7's weekly B'Sheva newspaper. A sampling:

"I no longer turn on the radio at all, but sometimes I feel that I simply have to hear Arutz-7, so I ask the children to get me on to the internet, because I don't know how to do it. My challah dough doesn't come out right on Friday without Adir Zik... I've lost my oxygen." - Sarah Hatab, Moshav Berechya, east of Ashkelon

"At first, I couldn't understand what was going on: How could it be that a government based on right-wing parties dares to make a decision to prevent Arutz-7 from existing financially [a reference to the decision to support legislation that would prevent advertising on unlicensed stations]? How could it be that the government does not present legislation that would somehow enable Arutz-7 to broadcast? ..." - Aryeh Segal, Jerusalem

"This station was the soul of my life. I wake up in the morning and I love hearing the pleasant voice of Rabbi Begun, and then Rabbi Shwietza and the daily Mishna, then 'Yesh Sho'alim' [with Rabbi Melamed], then the clean Hebrew music, not full of garbage like the other stations. This was my lifeblood, and now I have to keep switching stations, hearing all the junk, and turning it off... My only hope is that just like Bilam's curse, this curse too will become a blessing." - Osnat Vashdi, Karnei Shomron

"The news on Arutz-7 is more accurate, and the first to know of attacks in the territories. The news announcers are sensitive and humane. I'm also very interested in all the programs on Jewish tradition, event though I'm not religious." - Irena Sandrovich, Haifa

"On Election Day, I served as Likud campaign coordinator in Bnei Brak... Many people refused my entreaties to vote for the Likud, and when I asked why, many told me that the reason is the closure of Arutz-7. Over and over I heard, in various ways, that the Likud government caused them great disappointment with the harassment of the station, leading to its closure... Some said that the Likud's silence all these years of the campaign against Arutz-7 shows that it consents to its closure, and that therefore the Likud can no longer be considered a nationalist movement. Others said that the Likud's lack of action to legalize Arutz-7 shows that it does not know how to rule, and that therefore it might be better to return the Likud to the opposition where it might be able to serve a purpose." - Mordechai Shechori, Bnei Brak

"We are attached to the station especially on Fridays, when we're all home. My husband and I work in the kitchen and listen to Arutz-7. All the preparations for Shabbat are accompanied by the special atmosphere that Arutz-7 gives. The children come home and hear the songs for Shabbat and the [Sabbath eve] programs. This is an atmosphere that no other station has." - Efrat Vanchotzker, Gan-Or

WorldNetDaily.com quoted an Israeli woman named Janet Kasten Friedman as saying that Arutz-7 was the "one oasis of sanity on the airwaves." She said that Arutz-7 is a stark contrast from Israeli state radio and the Israeli media, both Hebrew and English, which are "fueled by Labor party ideologues and 'intellectuals' who repeat the great lie 'land for peace' like a mantra." About Arutz-7, she said, 
"The music is in Hebrew; the speech is cultured, talking rather than yelling; the programs include many Bible and Jewish Law classes; the reporters time their questions with enough time for the interviewee to answer; and they interview [right-wing] people... They also interview left wing speakers, asking them the hard questions that state radio ignores." 

 

Arutz Sheva is Hit Again
by Emanuel A. Winston
Oct 29, '03 / 3 Cheshvan 5764

Several years ago, ten individuals were put on trial for operating Arutz Sheva from a ship in the Mediterranean, which was accused of being a ‘pirate’ radio station by its detractors. One driving force, who worked tirelessly to bring honest, un-manipulated news to the Israeli public, was Ya’acov Katz, “Ketzaleh”, as he is fondly known by many. It was clear then, and remains so now, that all communication of news was closed off to those of the political nationalistic Right – that is, anyone who wanted to keep Israel’s heartland of ancient history whole.

Ketzaleh was also once a dear friend of Arik Sharon – until he later disagreed with Arik’s policy of evacuating the pioneering settlers in order to create another Arab State of Palestine. Those who know Sharon also know that those who disagree with him are quickly ejected from his inner circle of friends and advisors. 

Arutz Sheva became a nightmare for the often secretive Left under Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres, Yossi Beilin, Yossi Sarid, et al. The hard Left had the three major Hebrew newspapers in their hands, as well as the two television stations and almost all of the radio stations. The only dissenting voice for the Right and from the Right was Arutz Sheva and, to a lesser degree, the Shas radio station, plus a few other small, religious stations.

But, the main target of the leftist Labor government was Arutz Sheva, due to its content and popularity, with a world-wide audience. With thuggish brutality, government officials often raided the station’s on-land offices to confiscate, break and never return or pay for their computers and technical equipment. They also raided Arutz Sheva’s broadcasting ship when it was in port for maintenance, destroying transmitters – with malice.

This sounds like a scene from a movie about the USSR (or Russia under Vladimir Putin – who has also recently attacked some of the Russian TV networks). These were the hard leftists, or Osloids, who wanted to keep their under-the-table dealing with Yasser Arafat and the Arabist U.S. State Department under deep cover. Arutz Sheva shined a light and this was not to be tolerated.

After all, secretly betraying your own nation to the likes of Yasser Arafat was not exactly something one wants broadcast around the world, or especially in Israel. But there was always the one gadfly, buzzing around, breaking open secrets and that was Arutz Sheva.

The Left was not particularly bothered by more than 100 illegal Arab stations, but they were particularly upset by Arutz Sheva. Some may recall that when peace activist Abie Nathan’s pirate radio broadcasting ship came within Israel’s territorial waters - in effect, breaking the law - in order to burble about peace and giving up Israel’s heartland, nothing was done. Government Labor leftists never said a word and didn’t have Nathan assaulted by the courts or have his equipment trashed.

When Sharon was elected (after former Prime Minister Ehud Barak invited the Hizbullah into Lebanon and offered to gift Arafat anything he and Bill Clinton wanted at Taba), it was expected that Sharon would re-balance the scales of justice. Instead, because he wanted to establish a Palestinian State with the "urging" of President Bush and Secretary Powell, he just put his thumb on the scales of justice and tilted it to what he and they wanted. 

So now, you have Labor and Likud, normally two competing parties, in a shameful agreement to crush the only Free Israel radio station in Israel. To further expose Sharon’s plan to shut down the open voice of Arutz Sheva, he had his cabinet pass a resolution 11 to 5, authorizing legislation to impose stiff fines and possible prison sentences on those who advertise on unlicenced radio stations. Clearly, the target of this vulgar threat was mainly Arutz Sheva.

Arutz Sheva was the only free public voice to object to Arafat’s promises and plans to de-Judaize Judea , Samaria and Gaza and convert it into a terrorist state close to Israel’s population centers. Years ago, the Labor Left offered the ridiculous and since disproved excuse that Arutz Sheva’s broadcasting interfered with aviation at Ben Gurion Airport. That lie has recently been exhumed by Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, in order to insert a technological spin on a weak excuse to close down broadcasting appropriate for observant Jews and fundamentalist Christians world-wide. 

Add to that the installation of a powerful transmitter for radio, plus another Arab Palestinian al-Jazeera pumping out hate-filled propaganda against the Free West, especially America and Israel. Prejudice, in this case, starts at home.

The cabal of Sharon, Limor Livnat, Tommy Lapid and Ehud Olmert pushed to ensure that the founding members of Arutz Sheva would first face sentencing by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court and then be forced to appeal to the ultra-Left Supreme Court, driven by the political activist, Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak.

The lower court found the Arutz Sheva managers and founders guilty of operating a ‘pirate’ station inside Israel’s territorial waters and they are awaiting sentencing. It’s not that Sharon wants them in jail (at least I hope not), but he is on a short leash to Bush, Powell and the Arabist State Department. Most of all, they don’t want any interference in their establishing of another Arab Palestinian State via the Road Map. That interference might come from Arutz Sheva pointing out that, after six major wars and unceasing terror, another Arab Palestinian State would create permanent war and the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.

The Americans ought to know by now that neither the Arab Palestinians, nor the Muslim Iraqis, nor the Syrians, nor the Muslim Iranians will ever give Israel or America peace – because the Arab Muslims continually say so. Prime Minister of Malaysia, addressing 57 Muslim countries, made that plain when he called for 1.3 billion Muslims to unite against Israel and the Free West, especially America. That demagogic address received standing applause. 

But, for a short term political gain in America, they do not want this Arutz Sheva radio station, over which they have no control, exposing their political trickery; in effect, blowing their cover and giving democracy a chance to work.

Although the media in Israel and world wide is naturally Left-liberal, I wonder why they would not collectively protest the shutting down of a media voice, one of their own. Perhaps, despite their constant howling over freedom of the press, they really want to shut up any non-Left-liberal voices. To paraphrase: "First they came for the… then they came for the Jews and I didn’t protest. And when they came for me, there was no one left to protest."

The people who established this one lone voice of painful reality did not do it for money or prestige. It actually cost them lots of money for operational costs and to defend themselves in the court cases, wherein they have been unjustly accused and maligned. The Arutz Sheva organizers did it because they really knew that Arafat and his pals were (and are) lying bastards, dedicated to wiping out Israel to the very last man, woman and child. Many speakers have said these things to the people around the world through Arutz Sheva in a straightforward, unvarnished, non-political, truthful way. They were the accurate whistle-blowers of things to come. Various Israeli and other governments hated them for their exposes, which have been proven right.

In addition to truthful political issues, Arutz Sheva has also broadcast great Israeli/Jewish music and non-political informational programming, plus excellent Torah lessons for over 15 years – against great opposition. These broadcasts accompanied and aided in the development of Torah in Israel and settlement of the Land. Bringing the ethics of Torah did not endear them to the Left, nor, presently, to Tommy Lapid, who seems to have a special and personal grudge against observant Jewry.

Ketzaleh, one of the truly great heroes among other heroes of this besieged nation, was nearly blown in half (his hip was shattered and separated by an Arab shell) during the Yom Kippur War, but he continues on (despite daily pain) to serve Israel and the Jewish people. I attempted to interview the Arutz Sheva people, but, because of their pending sentencing, they had to decline comment – another way of closing their mouths. 

However, there is a burning clash on-going in the Knesset over this political decision, rammed through the courts in order to close the voice of Arutz Sheva – despite the 1999 Knesset vote of 40-30 to license the station. That vote was declared null and void by Supreme Court Chief Justice Barak – the only time an Israeli Court dared to over-ride the lawmaking body of the Knesset. Obviously, the Labor Left and the leftist Supreme Court act in unison on matters that are supposed to remain hidden from the public.

In the time of Rabin/Peres, the great secrets not to be spoken about to the public were the creation and then the failure of the Oslo Accords and the ineptness of those who drew up this amateurishly drafted document. In fact, Yossi Beilin proudly admitted in public that, "We didn’t tell the Knesset or the Israeli people that we were negotiating with Yasser Arafat [when it was illegal to do so], because they would have stopped us." I have a recording of this statement, from July 7, 1994, at Bar Ilan University.

Now, the great open secret not to be spoken aloud on the radio is the absolute failure of the Bush/Sharon Road Map and the de facto border for another Arab Muslim Palestinian State that some call the "Great Wall of Israel". Lots to hide. But these secrets are spoken about on Arutz Sheva – which is healthy for all good and honest democracies.

As a further proof of the dangers to which current policy has exposed Israel, it was reported by the Government Press Office that the IDF is considering moving their Brigade HQ from Samaria to inside the Green Line. First, it was the Left under Rabin-Peres raiding Arutz Sheva to shut it down and close its true voice. Then came Arik Sharon, who really didn’t want a public radio station not under his government control speaking about plans to evacuate Yesha (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) and protesting Sharon’s acceptance of the Bush Road Map and the new security fence/border. 

This means you can also look for the fingerprints of U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and the Arabist State Department in this ugly suppression of democracy and freedom of speech and press. The Americans have apparently decided that all voices protesting the Road Map, which would seriously weaken the Jewish State of Israel, must be silenced.

This is an ugly affair and a vile display of arrogance that one easily finds wherever thuggish dictators rule their courts. Israel seems determined to prove that it is a Third World Banana Republic. Not too long ago, a prominent and respected Judge Bork was interviewed on CSPAN TV, where he responded to a question about Israel’s Supreme Court and, with humor, identified it as “a politically activist court that appointed itself Israel’s law-maker instead of merely judging the facts of certain politically-charged cases.” I suppose the entire Knesset can now retire, leaving the job of formulating law to Chief Justice Aharon Barak.

In Summary

Succeeding governments refused to give Arutz Sheva a broadcasting license, even after the Knesset passed a law authorizing it, by a 40-30 margin, in February 1999. The courts overruled the Knesset – for the first and only time – on this law. The courts falsely proclaimed that Arutz Sheva interfered with aviation communication, this while more than more than 100 Arab and Palestinian pirate stations operated without so much as a mention, fine and certainly no punitive raids.

If I were you, dear reader, I would vent my fury on Sharon, Limor Livnat, Tommy Lapid, Ehud Olmert and the High Court – who are the controlling influences in this nasty affair. I would ask your local media why, despite their liberal outlook, they have not protested this attack against Freedom of Speech in Israel. 

[Please note that Arutz Sheva broadcasts continue as usual on the Internet at and by phone (057-777-777; from abroad: +97257-777-777).]

 

Wednesday October 29th 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

 

Part of an e-mail received by subscribers to the A7 daily newsletter:

Arutz Sheva Marches On!
The past week has not been easy for Arutz Sheva. After 15 years of continuous radio broadcasting, Arutz Sheva discontinued its radio broadcasts "over the air". This decision was made inevitable after the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, at the end of costly and extensive court proceedings over 5 years, decided to convict the management of Arutz Sheva and deem the station "illegal."

Our current efforts are concentrated on two fronts. The first is to enhance our Internet presence and introduce new services. On  the political/legislative front we are working together with our supporters to influence the goverment to "legalize" the Arutz Sheva broadcasts. To this end we ask that you sign the petition which can be accessed from our home page.

All of these efforts are very expensive. By purchasing from the Arutz Sheva Mall, not only do you support these efforts, you are also helping our suppliers, many of whom  reside in the settlements of Yesha.

 

Tuesday October 28th 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

Just thought you might like to see this. 

http://www.jewishuniverse.net/boat/index.htm

There will be a weekend of solidarity with Arutz 7 at a Jerusalem hotel at the end of November. This is the advertisment that appears on the Hebrew language site of the station. As the ad is in Hebrew, I will translate it.

On the top is written Arutz 7 - National Radio

Then Weekend seminar and solidarity with Arutz 7

The subject of the seminar is : Broadcasting - open skies ?

The seminar will take place from Thursday 27/11/03 - Saturday night 29/11/03 at the Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem.

Taking part:

Rabbi Zalman Melamed (One of the stations co owners)
Rabbanite Shlomit Melamed (also co owner)
Yaakov Katz (Manager)
Yoel Tzur (Senior staff member)
Hagai Segal (Head of news at Arutz 7)

There is a phone number for reservations, with the statement that places are limited.

Mike



From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

The Arutz-7 Action Committee 
15:54 Oct 28, '03 / 2 Cheshvan 5764

"On one public radio station, you hear talk of the 'innocent Palestinians' who were killed in an IDF attack. On another public station, you hear a debate about why we should leave Netzarim. In short, you begin to miss Arutz-7..." 

"One wakes up in the morning and turns on the radio," said Har'el Cohen of Beit El today, "and hears one of the public stations talking about the 'innocent Palestinians' who were killed in an IDF attack. So he switches to another public station, and hears a debate about why we should leave Netzarim. In short, he begins to miss Arutz-7... We realized that we had to do something." Thus explained Cohen why he and some friends have formed the "Action Committee for Arutz-7."

Cohen explained that the committee is working on various angles, including pressuring MKs to "wake up and realize that a legal solution has to be found. It doesn't really matter to us private citizens exactly what solution is found - as long as we can once again hear Arutz-7 as a recognized station... We are also working in different directions, such as putting up signs on the roads against the closure of Arutz-7. Starting Friday, we will have volunteers who will be standing at intersections, wearing Arutz-7 hats and T-shirts, giving out stickers, and the like. The motto is that Arutz-7 must be licensed and that we demand freedom of speech."

"In general," Cohen continued, "we encourage Arutz-7 fans and sympathizers to call up the other radio stations' talk shows, and send faxes and the like, and to demand our rights. After all, for 15 years we have grown accustomed to hearing Arutz-7 and not listening to the other stations. We are a third of the population who wish to hear traditional-Jewish and nationalistic programming, which means that 1/3 of air-time on public radio should be devoted to these topics. But at present, these issues don't even have 1% of the time on these stations... We have already gotten 10,000 petition signatures, but we know that there are hundreds of thousands of listeners, based on the donations that come in, according to the information given us by the Arutz-7 management. So we are trying to get all of them to sign the petition, whether on the internet, or by posting copies in synagogues, schools, and the like."

Internet petitions for Arutz-7 may be signed at here

or here

and, in Hebrew, at this link

The committee's phone number in Israel is 1212-29-8888.

 

Monday October 27th 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

Hi All,

After being on a business seminar at a hotel in the Israeli seaside resort of Herzlia yesterday, I had a clear sighting of the Arutz 7 ship.

I can tell you all, the ship is still at anchor, and there were no boats anywhere near it. So if any dismantling of equipment is being done, it wasn't done yesterday !!

Mike

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Ketzaleh, Silenced On Arutz-7 Radio, Speaks On Arutz-7 TV 
15:37 Oct 27, '03 / 1 Cheshvan 5764

Yoni Kempinski, who hosts the "Israeli Salad" show on IsraelNationalNews TV, has taped an interview with Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), Executive-Director of Arutz-7 and the Beit El Yeshiva Center. "What they did to us is against freedom of speech," Ketzaleh emphasized again and again, "and would be accepted in no western country... 40% of the nation is religious, and 60-70% are nationalistic who believe that the Land of Israel belongs to the People of Israel, that Jews should be allowed to live in the Land of Israel - in Judea and Samaria and in all of Jerusalem - and yet we have no radio station. The only radio stations are controlled by the 3-5% of the people who control key positions in the courts and State Prosecution." 

The entire interview can be seen by clicking here

Arutz-7 managers and the entire National Union Knesset faction met yesterday to discuss possible approaches to renewing Arutz-7 radio broadcasts. An agreed-upon professional committee will attempt to put the ideas into practice. The MKs met separately with Communications Minister Ehud Olmert of the Likud, and presented him with several possibilities for renewing Arutz-7 broadcasts from land. Legislating an "open skies" option is not realistic at this point, reported Arutz-7's David Shapira, who took part in the meeting. He said that MKs Tzvi Hendel and Uri Ariel said they would not rest until Arutz-7 is once again allowed to broadcast.

Arutz-7's regular Hebrew broadcasts can be heard at present via the internet, at "http://www.israelnationalnews.com/english/radio/live/Flive.htm", or by phone in Israel 057-777-777 at the cost of a cellular phone call (from abroad, replace the 0 with 972). Efforts are being made to enable Arutz-7 to be heard at the price of a local phone call.

 

Wednesday October 22nd 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

Recently, there have been articles and reports about A7 selling their ship, and even firing all their broadcast staff! Here are some excerpts from an article in today’s "Yediot Achronot" Hebrew newspaper:

Arutz 7, which closed down last Monday, is sending redundancy letters to its workers, and is putting their radio ship "Eretz Hatzvi" up for sale, after 15 years of broadcasting.

In the letter, it states that Arutz 7 will relocate their workers in "other parts of the organization". Sources for Arutz 7 said that "We will strengthen our weekly newspaper (BeSheva), and our Internet site, which will continue to be active."

One of the stations managers, Yoel Tzur, said in Arutz 7's lunchtime news programme (on the Internet), that "this time, we lost the battle, but we will win the war in the end."

He also said that "We already have a potential buyer for the ship", but didn't go into any details (On Israel TV's Channel One last night, it was reported that the ship was sold to someone OUTSIDE of the broadcasting Industry. MB)

Tzur continued " We closed down, because we didn't want every employee to be a future target for a police Investigation. Our listeners must now make this protest public, and reach as many people as possible. We already have people within the Government trying to bring in a law to legalize Arutz 7.“ To the assessment of Tzur, this could take between 4-6 months.

Inside Arutz 7, they now say that it is up to the hundreds of thousands (!) listeners to make protests to every quarter possible, so Arutz 7 can return bigger and better than before.

But within the station itself, they are already thinking of a way to return the station to the airwaves. Managerial meetings recently brought up the idea of a new group buying the stations Internet site, and will relay these broadcasts on powerful FM transmitters. This way, they think they will not be breaking the law. The idea was also raised that a group of new investors will broadcast from Cypriot Territorial waters (Nathan ?) 


I MYSELF WOULD WAIT AND SEE IN THE NEXT FEW WEEKS TO WHAT KIND OF SENTENCES THE ARUTZ 7 STAFF RECEIVE. ACCORDING TO THAT, I THINK THEY WILL ACT. THERE ARE A LOT OF RUMOURS GOING AROUND, AND AS IS NORMAL IN OFFSHORE RADIO, FALSE STATEMENTS AND SMOKE SCREENS.

IF THERE IS ANYTHING NEW, I WILL UPDATE YOU.

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

This picture appeared in yesterdays Hebrew paper Yediot Achronot. The headline reads "Arutz 7 runs aground". If you compare the state of the ship in this picture, to the state it was nearly 4 years ago (click HERE for the pictures), when Dr. Martin van der Ven and I visited the ships, you will see that the state of the ship has deteriorated a lot in that time.

This is because the ship dared not come into port for repairs/painting etc, for fear of being boarded.

As far as I know, the ship is still at sea.


Mike

 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Arutz-7: Fax And Letter Campaign Launched 
18:35 Oct 22, '03 / 26 Tishrei 5764

Veteran Arutz-7 broadcaster Kobi Sela reported today on some of Arutz-7's future plans. "As of last night," he said, "our ship - HaTzvi - began to be dismantled, and it will be sold. The radio programming as we have known it will continue on the internet for the next month, but not on the radio. The exact schedule for internet programming starting a month from now has not yet been determined. However, the revolution we started via the radio will not stop, but will merely be directed in other directions. Our internet services, both audio and written, will be expanded, as will our newspaper B'Sheva."

B'Sheva, which recently celebrated its first birthday, is distributed free of charge to over 115,000 households throughout the country. The Makor Rishon newspaper, which was recently purchased by Shlomo Ben-Tzvi of the Techelet concern, published an announcement on the eve of Yom Kippur asking forgiveness for any offense it may have caused Arutz-7 during a financial dispute last year.

Sela said that great efforts are being made to enable Arutz-7 to resume broadcasting, "but not with a special Arutz-7 law. Such a law was passed once, and the Supreme Court knocked it down - and will certainly do so again. Instead, efforts on the political/legislative front will concentrate on getting Israel to enact an 'open skies' policy, so that anyone who wants to, should be able to acquire a license to start broadcasting. There are also technological possibilities we are considering, such as satellite radio that we once started working on. The problem was that the company we were working with was threatened with an Arab boycott..."

Aviad Visuly, head of the Land of Israel organization in Haifa, said today that his office had received dozens of phone calls from people expressing their frustration at the closure of Arutz-7 and asking what they could do. "They simply feel detached," he said. "They're used to having Arutz-7 as a tool to focus all their pro-Land of Israel activities, or just to turn on the radio once in a while, and suddenly it's not there anymore. People barely believe it's actually happening. They feel detached. They say that something must be done, that it's just inconceivable that there is no voice to represent them." Visuly said that in the meanwhile, people are being asked to sign the on-line petitions in support of Arutz-7 - <http://www.petitiononline.com/arutz7/petition.html> in English, and www.a7.org in Hebrew.

David Shapira, head of Arutz-7's French department and one of the ten defendants convicted this week of running an unlicensed radio station, said that a major fax-and-letter writing campaign was launched this afternoon. The "task force" he heads says that the "best way to influence and quicken the resumption of Arutz-7 broadcasts is via a very significant public plea to the following decision-makers:

Minister of Communications Ehud Olmert - fax 02-6662909 <eulmert@knesset.gov.il>

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon - fax 02-5664838 <pm_heb@pmo.gov.il>

Minister Meir Sheetrit 02-5317697 <mshitrit@knesset.gov.il>

Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz - fax 03-6976218

Education Minister Limor Livnat - fax 02-5602246 <llivnat@knesset.gov.il>

Justice Minister Tommy Lapid - fax 02-6285438 <ylapid@knesset.gov.il>

Public Security Minister - fax 02-5308039 <zhanegbi@knesset.gov.il>

<http://www.israelnnmall.com> Support Arutz-7! Wear an ARUTZ-7 T-SHIRT!!



From the Jerusalem Post online edition:

Free The Airwaves 

Earlier this week Arutz Sheva was finally felled. It was defeated via a lawsuit submitted by Labor's Eitan Cabel to the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, which upheld his assertion that it was broadcasting illegally. 

Yet two decades ago Israel's Left mounted an aggressive campaign, both within and without the Knesset, to legalize Abie Nathan's Voice of Peace shipboard radio broadcasts. 

The argument was that Nathan proved his enterprise a commercial success, had an audience and several years in the business. He deserved, it was ardently argued, special consideration. It would have doubtlessly been granted, had Nathan not succumbed meanwhile to severe medical and financial problems. 

But the very same arguments raised in his favor are even more cogent for Arutz Sheva, which alone gives voice to settlers and their supporters. Without Arutz Sheva, that portion of the population popularly dubbed "the national camp" is effectively silenced. This station fills a niche and a need, which no other does, far beyond anything that Nathan could remotely claim. 

So it's no less than dismaying that the very Left which so enthusiastically lobbied for Nathan now so fervently fights Arutz Sheva's right to voice the opinions of its many adherents. 

It's difficult to escape the impression that what's really wrong with Arutz Sheva isn't that its ship didn't distance itself sufficiently from Israel's territorial waters or that studios in Beit El were used. What differentiated it from Nathan's venture was politics. 

Thus after 15 years on the air, during which the station proved itself financially viable, professionally capable, and exceptionally popular, it was silenced. Its loyal audience wasn't limited to the settlements. It was avidly listened to within the Green Line, as most taxi passengers can verify. 

Particularly disconcerting was Justice Minister Yosef Lapid's outburst against ministers who pleaded Arutz Sheva's case, warning that they'll have "blood on their hands" if a plane crashes due to radio interference. With all due respect, such scare-mongering is demagogic. Arutz Sheva never endangered aviation. Those who do are numerous small-time pirates with home-based transmitters, often operated by reckless teens. There are plenty of laws against such delinquents. They need only be enforced. 

Equating Arutz Sheva with them is a cynical red herring. Arutz Sheva has become a staple of popular culture and we consider it is grossly imprudent to close it precisely because it satisfied proven demand for its journalistic product. Denying the public what it wants and had grown used to will inevitably give rise to charges of politically motivated muzzling. 

No amount of legalistic sanctimony will erase this perception. 

This country urgently needs legislation to democratize the airwaves. This is the case elsewhere in the free world. It's time we live up to our liberal pretensions. A phenomenon like FOX Television would be impossible here. Nothing, however, prevented a television network with a different ideological bent from giving itself an electronic media platform in America. 

It's time our regulations tolerated radio offerings that appeal to a range of political and ideological preferences, as they do to musical tastes. There's no reason an outfit like Arutz Sheva should not be able legally to obtain a broadcasting license. At present this is nearly a mission impossible. Red tape and demands for competition in a tender load the dice. 

Entries for local radio tenders repeatedly feature varying combinations of the same groupings and individuals with identical political slants. Arutz Sheva is unlikely to prevail against them. With its record, it shouldn't now be forced into a contest. 

The uniqueness of Arutz Sheva's audience must be recognized. Likewise, there'd be no harm if the haredi community, the kibbutz movement, or any reincarnation of the Voice of Peace were also awarded radio licenses. 

Ideological pluralism must be promoted in a polarized society such as ours. A silenced plurality isn't in democracy's best interest. Those who do not wish to see extremism flourish ought to be the first to make sure that sizable segments of opinion, on the Right and Left, are allowed free expression. 

Citizens who feel stifled, marginalized, and delegitimized aren't likely to espouse moderation.

 

Tuesday October 21st 2003

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Arutz 7 News Update 

Hi All,

With all the hectic events of the past few days here in Israel, I took a few moments to reflect on what happened, and what might happen, here next. If you would like to bear with me for a few moments, this is my personal opinion of what I think will happen next.

First of all, I don't think that Arutz 7 will stay off the air for long - I would say no longer than one, two weeks at most. They have lot's of advertisers, and contracts to fulfill, so unless they want to pay thousands of dollars in compensation, they will be back on the air soon. Yes, they ARE broadcasting through the Internet, but this won't be 
enough for the advertisers, as most of their " clients " are religious, or Ultra Orthodox , many of who do not own, or have access to a computer.

I think this is a well planned publicity stunt, aimed at drumming up public support for the station. Reactions are already beginning to flow in, and these are being published on the Hebrew papers Internet sites (sorry, can't copy them here!). Most are asking for Arutz 7 to be legalised, and a special "Arutz 7 Law" to be introduced in the Knesset. As there is a right wing/religious party majority in the Kneset, there is a good chance that such a bill could pass, if brought before it.

The other reason why I think Arutz 7 made such an abrupt departure yesterday, is that there might of been another attempt to board the "Eretz Hatzvi" on the open seas. For this reason, they didn't want to give the authorities any good excuses to board them, and confiscate any equipment.

What I can't understand though is the part of the conviction that states that Arutz 7 broadcast within Israeli National waters between 1995-1998. This of course is correct, they DID, but with full permission of all the authorities involved. Them being, the Transport Ministry and the Israeli Navy. All Israeli offshore radio stations broadcast within Israeli National waters. 

But Arutz 7 did make two fatal mistakes. They broadcast live programmes from their studios at Bet El, when they declared that the studios were only for recording, and they placed relay stations all around the country, and by so doing, they made themselves a landbased pirate station like anyone else. It was so obvious that there were such relay stations, because their FM signals could be received all over the country.

But back to the future (Hmm, good name for a film - no ?). I think, that after all the dust falls into place in a few days time, there will be an attempt to place Arutz 7 into some sort of framework that will please everyone. 

The interesting thing could be, that if something like that DOES happen, then there might be room for another station that broadcast from the sea once .....

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

According to a report printed on a Hebrew news site, it was stated that the REAL reason Arutz 7 closed down in such a hurry yesterday, was legal advice given to the owners.

This advice was as follows: If the station is not closed down, and as soon as possible, the sentences for all convicted could be very heavy. If the station would be closed down, then the judges could go "easier" on them.

After sentencing, it will be decided whether to restart broadcasts or not. If yes, then there is a possibility that the station will return under new owners, probably American Jews who do not live in Israel.

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

Whatever your political views etc, you can help support get an offshore radio station back on the air, or at least try to. Sign an online petition on behalf of Arutz 7 at the following address:

<http://www.petitiononline.com/arutz7>

Thanks for bearing with me

Mike




From the Haaretz online Newspaper edition:

Arutz Sheva goes off air after court convicts employees of radio piracy 

By Moshe Reinfeld and Nadav Shragai 

The management of Arutz Sheva, the pirate radio station owned and run by settlers, yesterday decided to take the station of the air indefinitely, and to limit its activity to news updates via the Internet and telephone. The decision came shortly after the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court convicted 10 of the stations directors, editors and broadcasters of involvement in pirate radio broadcasts, as well as a cabinet decision on Sunday to fine any business advertising on a pirate station. 

A senior member of the Arutz Sheva management told Haaretz last night, "The court has ruled that we are illegal. We argued for five years against that ruling, and the judge has decided otherwise. Under these circumstances, we cannot go on broadcasting. The Likud and the other right-wing parties will either have to make do with Army Radio and Israel Radio, or grant us a license." 

In addition to the 10 people convicted by the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court, presiding Judge Yoram Noam also convicted three companies that jointly operate the station. Yaakov Katz, a station manager and a director of one of the companies, was also convicted of perjury, for telling the High Court of Justice that Arutz Sheva only broadcasts from outside Israel's territorial waters, and has never broadcast from Israel or the West Bank. 

The court can hand down jail terms of up to three years and impose heavy fines on anyone found guilty of pirate broadcasting. A similar punishment can be imposed for perjury. 

Two other directors convicted yesterday were Yoel Tzur and Rabbi Zalman Baruch Melamed. The three were all convicted of involvement in the running of Shefa Advertising, which sold advertising time for the station, Eretz Hazvi, which operated the studios, and Beit-El Shipping, which operated the broadcast ship, Hazvi. 

Control of these companies was executed via two associations - the Sukkat Ovadia Learning Center, Beit El B, and the Beit El and Beit El B Yeshiva Compound Development Corporation. Among the founders of these two associations were two more of the people convicted yesterday: Shulamit Melamed, the station's program director, and Yair Meir, a station engineer. 

Also convicted were the captain of the Arutz Sheva ship, Shaul Avni, the news director, Haggai Segal, and broadcasters Gideon Sharon, Adir Zik and David Shapira. 

Charges were first brought against the station five years ago, after a police investigation - much of which was undercover - that began in 1995. Prosecuting attorney Shimon Dolan claimed that from 1995 to 1998, Arutz Sheva operated without the requisite permits, from a ship that was primarily anchored inside Israel's territorial waters and from a studio in Beit El. 

Broadcasts from Beit El were transmitted with the help of several relay stations. Defense attorney Dan Sela claimed that the broadcasts emanated exclusively from the ship, and only when it was in international waters. 

The trial focused on two issues - whether the ship broadcast from Israeli or international waters, and whether there were also terrestrial broadcasts. During the trial, the prosecution called 54 witnesses, and the defense called 20, among them experts in locating the source of radio broadcasts, electronics and sonar. 

In his verdict, the judge ruled that during the period in question, the ship was usually located within Israeli waters, no more than three or five nautical miles west of Tel Aviv.
He also found that the prosecution had proved its assertion that broadcasts were also made from the Beit El studio. 

 

From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

We greatly appreciate the outpouring of your support in light of the difficult times Arutz-7 is undergoing. We have been inundated with your email letters, faxes, internet comments and phone calls expressing your appreciation for Arutz-7, as well as your refusal to accept the denial of the basic right to freedom of expression.

The message transmitted by Arutz-7's senior management is one of faith and confidence: "We will not be silenced." The directors are preparing for what may be a prolonged struggle to ensure the future of its broadcasts. Some of the options being considered are: 
1) appeal of the court ruling,
2) legislation in the Knesset to bring about true pluralism of Israel's airwaves, 
3) internet upgrade and expansion; 
4) satellite/digital radio, 
and 5) other possible solutions.

Many of you have also asked what can be done. Some possibilities include:
* Faxes to the Prime Minister's Office (+972-2-670-5475)
* Sign on-line petition at http://www.petitiononline.com/arutz7/petition.html
* Organization of a mass rally in favor of freedom of speech, open skies, and Arutz-7.

In addition, and possibly most importantly:
We turn to you - our readers and listeners - for your support in waging the battle to reopen this valuable mouthpiece which has been so abruptly and brutally silenced. The battle for the voice for Jewish and true Israeli values costs money!

Two options for submitting your donation:
1) Starting at 9 PM Eastern Time and continuing through the night, Israel National Radio will host the ARUTZ SHEVA TELETHON. Tune in on-line, together with your friends and acquaintances, to 
<http://www.israelnationalnews.com/metafiles/asx/israelnn.asx>, for the live ARUTZ SHEVA TELETHON. Callers will have an opportunity to make a credit card donation. Some, but not all, will be selected to express their support for Arutz Sheva on the live broadcast.
During the telethon, call in at these numbers:
* North America and Israel: 1-800-270-4288
* England: 00 800 3-700-7000
* South Africa: 09 800 3-700-7000
2. Email your credit card pledge to donations@IsraelNationalNews.com

Thanks for your support, and may we, together, go from strength to strength!



Orlev Speaks On Rabbinical Courts And Arutz-7 Crises 
19:26 Oct 21, '03 / 25 Tishrei 5764

Minister Orlev of the NRP expressed optimism that Prime Minister Sharon would solve the Courts problem, and that a legal way would be found to enable Arutz-7 to resume its radio broadcasts. 

(...) 

Speaking later with Israel Radio, Orlev was asked about his frequent interviews on Arutz-7, "which has now been deemed illegal." Orlev responded that today he was speaking with Arutz-7 internet and not with Arutz-7 radio.

He told Arutz-7, "We have deep bonds with Arutz-7. Its content and approach are 'birds of a feather' with religious-Zionism and with the values in which the NRP believes. I see Arutz-7 as an integral part of the media map in Israel, and as playing a very important role in the spectrum of Israeli opinion. It's no secret that the voice of the religious and right-wing public does not receive its proper share on the other media. I therefore do not think that a judicial ruling or political intentions can silence Arutz-7. It has a huge listening public, and no court can change that. I think that a way must and will be found to authorize Arutz-7's broadcasts. We have to work hard, and I personally will enlist in the effort." 

 

Summing Up The Arutz-7 Situation 
19:20 Oct 21, '03 / 25 Tishrei 5764

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, Rabbi of the community of Brachah in the Shomron, head of the Hesder Yeshiva there, son of Rabbi Zalman and Shulamit Melamed, and Halakhic commentator on Arutz-7, delivered the following summation yesterday... 

Over the course of years, the right-wing public in Israel felt great frustration. Many voices were heard in the media - post-Zionist, anti-religious, and others - while its voice was not heard. [Sephardic] music was off-limits, Hassidic music was relegated to a far-off isolated nature reserve on Reshet Aleph [a minor station of Voice of Israel], and Hebrew music, too, was neglected in favor of foreign music. Words of Torah were barely ever heard on the radio, and if they were, they were not heard freely or naturally. Arutz-7 showed that it could be done differently. It showed that there is a broad public that wants to hear different things, different songs. 

Especially during the difficult years of the Rabin government and the Oslo Agreements, all the established media continued to sound the post-Zionist and anti-religious stance, and were dragged along in praising the 'golden calf' of peace and the PLO terrorists. It was practically only Arutz-7 that sounded the sane voice [against Oslo] that later so painfully and bloodily proved to be true. Arutz-7 was the voice of the 'good Jews' who honor the Torah and Jewish tradition, and who volunteer and give of themselves wherever it's needed. If help is needed for new immigrants, they help; if people are needed to enlist in combat positions in the army, they enlist; and when the land has to be settled, they settle. Even if real self-sacrifice is involved, or if it's not popular, they're there. It was always Arutz-7 that gave coverage to these and many other important causes that had no chance of being covered in the public media. 

For many years, Arutz-7 invested tremendous amounts of money to purchase and maintain a ship, in order to broadcast from outside the territorial waters and in order not to violate the law. Unlike Abie Natan, who many times broadcast [his left-wing Voice of Peace programs] from a ship anchored on the shore, we always went out to the waves and broadcast from the sea. As long as Abie Natan broadcast, Arutz-7 managers knew that they were protected... 

During its 15 years, Arutz-7 succeeded, to a certain extent, in influencing the programming of the other stations. They realized they had no choice but to compete with us, and therefore were forced to broadcast more Hebrew, mid-eastern and Hassidic music. They were also forced to put on more people identified with the right-wing. The regional stations [which began several years ago] were also started largely to compete with Arutz-7, and perhaps also to provide a solution to the broad public that, thanks to Arutz-7, everyone now realized did not have a strong enough voice on the other stations. The situation thus improved, but was still very far from satisfactory and balanced. The voice of the right and the religious is still not heard fairly... 

The management of Arutz-7 and its supporters did everything they could to attain legal recognition and be able to broadcast, from land, the important and central voice of Torah, the nation, and the land. A law was even passed in the Knesset - but the Supreme Court, in a practically unprecedented decision, overturned it. Many initiatives to legalize Arutz-7 were raised, but were thwarted by Justice Ministry lawyers and others who objected to any type of solution. Even when it was decided that Arutz-7 could compete in a tender for regional radio, the membership of the committee was changed at the last minute so that it would not choose Arutz-7. In the meanwhile, the reception in Jerusalem remained very difficult, as in other parts of the country, while advertising revenue dropped - but maintenance of the ship remained at its regular constant high, some 4 million shekels a year. 

Despite the difficulties, Arutz-7 management always received support from throngs of listeners who told them how important the station is to them. Public leaders, too, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet ministers, talked nobly of Arutz-7's invaluable contribution to the public discourse. They of course promised that when they reached power, they would arrange the licensing of Arutz-7. To our great sorrow, their promise did not materialize. The station's managers were put on trial, while our friends who were helped by the station ascended to power, settled into their government seats - and became silent. The trial continued, the legislative process stopped - and the Arutz-7 leaders were convicted. 

Given this situation, the heads of the station can no longer bear the heavy burden of continuing the broadcasts. On this sad day, when all the leaders of Arutz-7 are convicted, and the Prime Minister and the ministers are silent, we were forced to stop the broadcasts. 

Our disappointment in the politicians and their promises is very great - especially in the ruling party, the Likud. But we still have great confidence in the great spirit and conscience of the broad public. Our own strength may have been diminished - but if the public feels that its voice must be allowed to be sounded without distortion, then everyone should act however he feels appropriate in order to influence the elected representatives to enable Arutz-7 to continue broadcasting.

 

In And Around Arutz-7 
19:38 Oct 21, '03 / 25 Tishrei 5764

Arutz-7's Kobi Sela reported today that many faxes were in fact sent to the Prime Minister's office, both from Israel and from abroad, protesting Arutz-7's closure. Sharon reportedly told his aides that he would try to find a legal way to enable Arutz-7 to broadcast, and that "initial contacts" towards this goal are already underway. Until then, Arutz-7 will broadcast in its new format, i.e., via the internet and on the phone (057-777-777, in Israel; +97257-777-777, abroad).

MK Yisrael Eichler of United Torah Judaism, known for his religious but not necessarily right-wing views, had a sharp reaction to the recent events. "Not since the days of Stalin," he told Arutz-7 today, "has there been such a violent mouth-shutting as there was this week, preventing freedom of expression in this manner... They [those of the left-wing] always say that Israel must primarily be a democratic state, even more so than a Jewish one - and yet here when it comes to the most basic tenet of democracy, freedom of expression, they refuse to allow it." 

Sela reported that media personality Merav Michaeli said she would support Arutz-7's bid for an "open skies" media policy, and that she would become personally involved. Finally, Sela noted, "the most heart-warming initiative on Arutz-7's behalf is the fact that there are at least two places in Israel, one in the north and one in the south, where people have opened up home-based transmitters to broadcast Arutz-7. They are tuned into Arutz-7 on the internet, and are re-broadcasting it to their neighborhoods..." Arutz-7 broadcaster Yehoshua Meiri noted that the law allows anyone to operate a low-strength transmitter from his home if its broadcasts do not reach more than a kilometer away. He said that such transmitters cost up to $300.

 

Monday October 20th 2003

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Arutz 7 closing down 

Hi All,

Arutz 7 just "suspended" all radio broadcasts until further notice. In reading the Hebrew statement, and not the English one (which seems more dramatic), they state that as a protest against the decision yesterday by the Government to introduce a "pirate radio law" which forbids Israelis to advertise on pirate radio stations, and the conviction of many of the Arutz 7 staff, the station will be "suspending" radio broadcasts until further notice. Internet broadcasts will continue.

Mike


From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Reactions To The Arutz-7 Ruling 
18:14 Oct 20, '03 / 24 Tishrei 5764

The court ruling against Arutz-7 today once again pitted right-wing against left-wing. Many right-wing ministers, MKs, and others reacted with fury to the decision. The Yesha Council issued a statement 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 has been the most active on behalf of Arutz-7 over the years, said, "We will not sit back and allow the silencing of an entire public sector. The court has decided to punish hundreds of thousands of listeners... The hounding of Arutz-7 by the left-wing State Prosecution will not succeed. The present right-wing government must make an immediate decision to allow free broadcasts, as in the rest of the world."

The National Union Knesset faction has invited the management of Arutz-7 to meet with them to discuss the advancement of special legislation that will legalize the station.

Left-wing Meretz party leader MK Zahava Gal'on called on Prime Minister Sharon, in his capacity as Communications Minister, to close Arutz-7 immediately. "It cannot be that a pirate radio station," she said, "continues to operate in a state run by law, and therefore the time has come to close it down."

Hevron Jewish Community leader Noam Arnon said, "The only reason why the left-wing spends so much time and effort on Arutz-7 is because Arutz-7 has been such a great success in being a mouthpiece for such a vast audience in Israel."

Women in Green issued a sharp response: "The Bolshevik dictatorship has struck again. A left-wing court system, representing a minority of the nation, is trying to shut the mouth of the nationalist public that represents the majority. Where are all the liberals who stand for freedom of speech? Is there freedom of speech only for the left, but not for the right? It is our prayer that Arutz-7 will come out of this even stronger."

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 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. Yesterday, the Cabinet, led by Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, passed a resolution authorizing the passage of legislation to impose stiff fines and possible prison sentences on those who advertise on unlicensed radio stations. 

Arutz-7 Radio Off-Air Until Further Notice 
10:56 Oct 20, '03 / 24 Tishrei 5764


In light of today's court ruling convicting ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members of broadcasting without a license, Arutz-7 stopped its radio broadcasts at 5 PM this afternoon. It issued the following message to its "precious and loyal listening public:"

"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 (10 AM Eastern Standard Time). 

"The broadcasts will continue as usual on the internet (www.IsraelNN.com or www.a7.org) and by phone - 057-777-777 [from abroad: +97257-777-777].

"Peace upon all." 

This afternoon's ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court convicted ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members of broadcasting without a license. The trial, which began over four and a half years ago, resulted in a flat-out conviction of the ten for having broadcasted from within the territorial waters of Israel, using transmitters within Israel without proper licensing, and similar charges. 

Arutz-7 Executive Director Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh), convicted of issuing false affidavits regarding the distance of the ship from shore, said when the trial started that the State Prosecution operated under a double standard: "It never indicted Abie Nathan for broadcasting from the sea - but a week after he sank his ship, all the troubles for Arutz-7 started." 

Today's ruling by Justice Yoram Noam stated that the defendants had violated broadcast and telegraph laws. Yoel Tzur, one of the convicts, speaking from the courtroom shortly after the verdict was announced, said that the first stage is to study the ruling, and that "we will make every effort to continue Arutz-7's broadcasts." 

The sentences - a maximum of three-year jail terms and three-million shekel fines - will be handed down next month. The Arutz-7 personnel who face these punishments 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 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, 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.



From the Haaretz online Newspaper edition:

Operators of Arutz Sheva convicted of pirate transmissions 

By Nadav Shragai, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service 

A group of managers and employees of the Arutz Sheva settler radio station were convicted Monday in the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court of engaging in pirate transmissions. 

The station ended its broadcasts at around 5 P.M., shortly after the conviction was handed down.

The group was convicted of transmitting from a boat within Israeli territorial waters and from locations in the West Bank without the required government permits. 

Among those convicted were Arutz Sheva directors Yaakov Katz and Yoel Zur, head of the news department Hagai Segal, and broadcasters Adir Zik, Gideon Sharon and David Shapira. Sentencing is scheduled for November 18. 

The court also convicted a prominent settler rabbi, Zalman Melamed, who served on the station's board of directors, as well as his wife, Shulamit Melamed, who worked as a studio manager. 

Also convicted were engineer Yair Meir, who provided technical assistance to the radio station, and Shaul Avni, the captain of the boat from where transmissions were made. 

The Yesha Council of Settlements released a statement expressing "deep sorrow over the fact that a group of idealistic citizens... have found themselves defined as criminals." 

 

Sunday October 19th 2003

Colour bar

Israeli anti-pirate legislation 

Hi All,

After half listening/half watching the news on Israel TV last night, I suddenly sat up straight when I heard the following:

Israeli Justice Minister Yossef "Tommy" Lapid, is planning on introducing legislation that will make it illegal to advertise on a pirate radio station. As we all know, this is part of legislation that has already been passed in Europe in 1967 and 1974. Lapid has yet to add that it is illegal to WORK for such a station, as is with the MOA's of Britain and Holland.

The bill, when introduced in the coming days, is aimed at getting rid of the tens of religious pirate radio stations that broadcast around Israel, of which some of them interfere with the Ben Gurion Airport control tower. This has put at risk, several landings of aircraft in the past few years, as these stations literally blot out all communication between the landing aircraft and the control tower.

But more important, this will be a death blow to the worlds last offshore radio station - Arutz 7. Arutz 7, unlike most of the landbased religious stations, depends wholly on advertising to survive.

Lapid, and his party Shinui (Change) is known for its anti Ultra-Orthodox (religious) platform, and this is just another of its attempts to make its stamp on Israeli society, to make it more "secular", after years of religious legistration has been forced on the Israeli public. 

I will report back when there are more details

Mike



From the Arutz 7 Internet Daily News Update:

Pirate Radio Law on Cabinet Agenda 
10:30 Oct 19, '03 / 23 Tishrei 5764

(IsraelNN.com) The weekly cabinet meeting began a short time ago. One of the items on the agenda is the proposed Pirate Radio Station Law, making it illegal to pay for advertisement on a pirate (illegal) station. According to the law, anyone advertising on a station would be hit with a stiff fine. The supporters of the law, Shinui party ministers, are confident that by eliminating income from sponsors, the illegal stations will be compelled to close. Shinui ministers insist their agenda is not targeting the many Orthodox radio stations or Arutz-7, but aimed at eliminating the radio broadcast interference with airport control towers, the result of the illegal broadcasts. Ministers Benny Elon and Effie Eitam have expressed their opposition to the proposed law. 

Pirate Radio Station Advertising Law Passes Cabinet 
14:14 Oct 19, '03 / 23 Tishrei 5764

(IsraelNN.com) Legislation aimed at cutting into the commercial viability of unlicensed (“pirate”) radio stations has passed the cabinet level by an 11-6 vote. The legislation was pushed through by Shinui party leader and Justice Minister Yosef Lapid, who insists he is motivated by the need to curtail interference of air traffic controllers caused by unauthorized radio broadcasts.

Minister of Transportation (National Union) Avigdor Lieberman and Minister of Housing (National Religious Party) Effie Eitam were among the opponents of the law, insisting Lapid and his supporters are targeting Arutz-7 Radio as well as the many stations representing the voice of the Orthodox community, with many being affiliated with Shas, Lapid’s political nemeses. Lieberman stated the bill is an effort by Lapid to eliminate stations that do not agree with his political outlook. 

Deputy Education Minister (NRP) Tzvi Hendel lashed out at the decision, stating Lapid and supporters have only one agenda, to stifle the legitimate voice of a large community in Israel. 

The bill would make advertising on an illegal radio station an offense subject to a very significant fine, a move the proponents of the bill feel will eliminate the financial operating infrastructure for the stations. 

Lapid stated that if the cabinet fails to pass the bill, every minister would bear responsibility for the next aviation disaster caused by interruptions in air traffic controllers’ communications with planes. 



Hendel: We´ll Work Hard To Overturn Anti-Arutz-7 Legislation 
17:17 Oct 19, '03 / 23 Tishrei 5764

The Cabinet approved today proposed legislation granting the police broad authorities in the fight against pirate radio stations. Spearheaded by the Shinui party ministers, who claim that the stations endanger air traffic, the bill would impose stiff fines and even imprisonment for those who advertise on the unlicensed stations. Justice Minister Tommy Lapid said that the goal was to end financial support for the stations. "We will not allow right-wing and hareidi elements to use this public resource [airwaves] and make a mockery of the law," he said.

Lapid said at today's Cabinet meeting today that whoever objects to this bill will have "blood on his hands" if there is an air accident. Housing Minister Effie Eitam (NRP) said that Lapid was resorting to "verbal terrorism," and said that the entire purpose of the legislation was to destroy Arutz-7. He, together with Ministers Zevulun Orlev (NRP), Avigdor Lieberman (National Union), and the Likud's Uzi Landau and Yisrael Katz, voted against the proposal. Arutz-7 broadcasts have not, in fact, been accused of disturbing air traffic radio messages. 

Minister Eitam told Arutz-7 today, "We voted against the proposed legislation because it is just a ruse to close down Arutz-7. The timing, the extremist formulation, and the fact that they are doing nothing to take care of Arutz-7 shows it's just a way of closing down the voice of a very large listening public." 

Deputy Education Minister Tzvi Hendel (National Union), who has been a staunch activist on behalf of legislation to legalize Arutz-7 in the past, blames the Likud ministers for "chickening out and not objecting to this demagogic bill, whose only goal is to silence a very large and important public." The Knesset passed a law legalizing Arutz-7 in 1999, but the law was challenged in court by several left-wing MKs. The Court then issued a restraining order freezing the law's implementation, and in March 2002, it delivered an almost unprecedented ruling and overturned the Knesset law. 

It was reported that Prime Minister and Minister Ehud Olmert of the Likud said today that they would try to advance parallel legislation on behalf of legalizing Arutz-7. Hendel, however, said that he does not believe that these efforts will bear fruit.

"There is a woman in the Justice Ministry," Hendel said today, "named Didi Lachman-Messer, who, every time there is a new Justice Minister, tries in every which way to get a law passed against Arutz-7... We'll have to work hard, but I will make sure to get the necessary majority in the Knesset - including from among the Likud MKs - to defeat the law. As the youth sang yesterday during the Simchat Torah dancing, 'the eternal nation is not afraid of a long road.'"

 

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