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Monday, October 20, 2003

ARUTZ SHEVA RADIO OFF THE AIR

Ten Arutz-7 directors and staff members convicted of broadcasting without a license

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.

UPDATE: SIGN PETITION by David Wilder!
With thanks to Raz.
To: Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
DEMAND TO REOPEN ARUTZ 7

Arutz 7 is the VOICE OF SANITY IN ISRAEL AND AROUND THE WORLD
IT MUST BE LEGALIZED AND REOPENED IMMEDIATELY!!!


The Voice of Sanity
by David Wilder
October 20, 2003

There are a multitude of subjects to write about: Three soldiers shot down in cold blood last night; tens of thousands visiting Hebron during the Succot holidays; the “Geneva Accords.” But today I think there is one subject which tops the list.

Yesterday the Israeli cabinet, voting 11 to 5, refused to append a suggested law outlawing all advertising on so-called ‘pirate radio stations,’ including Arutz 7. Lawbreakers could be fined up to one hundred thousand shekels and/or jailed for one year.

Early this afternoon a Jerusalem Magistrate Court convicted directors and broadcasters of the Arutz 7 radio station of illegal broadcasting. Among those convicted were Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife, Rebbetzion Shulamit Melamed, Ya’akov Katz, better known as Ketzele, Yoel Tzur (who lost his wife and son, both of whom were murdered by terrorists almost three years ago), and internationally renowned film-maker and Arutz 7 broadcaster, Adir Zik. They could receive a maximum sentence of three years in jail and a three million shekel fine.

It is written in the Talmud that a sage, resuscitated after having been ‘clinically dead’ was asked what he had seen ‘there.’ His response, speaking about viewing this world from the next world: “An upside-down world.” My friends, things have not changed in two thousand years. Our world is still upside down. But not only. It is also convoluted, warped and twisted.

Perhaps my generalization is not fair. So I will limit my definition, not to the entire world, rather only to the State of Israel. Oh, upside-down it is!

For the past ten years – no, since 1948, but more recently, since the middle of the 1980s, Israel has been involved in a ‘hot war’ for survival. The last decade, the “Oslo Era” has witnessed the deaths of over 1,100 Israelis. The past three years, the beginning of the Oslo War, has seen almost nine hundred victims. During this time the only reliable media outlet, the only radio station which broadcast the total, uncensored, truth, was Arutz 7. Virtually all of Israel’s political leadership, including many left-wing politicians, voiced their opinions on this station. When Kol Yisrael – the mislabeled “Voice of Israel,” actually Kol-Smol Yisrael, “The Left Voice of Israel” was using every technique possible to batter Bibi Netanyahu during the 1996 elections, Arutz 7 stood to Netanyahu’s right, offering an alternative to the vile left-wing propaganda. So too during Ariel Sharon’s campaign. All people who access the Arutz 7 internet site or receive their daily email news updates know and understand the vital importance of Arutz 7 in getting the truth out, around the world – in multiple languages. This, despite numerous attempts by the left to prevent broadcasts and to close down the station.

Today, temporarily, they have succeeded. Arutz 7’s management has decided to stop all radio broadcasts, from five o’clock this afternoon. However, internet broadcasts will continue.

It is virtually impossible to comprehend what is happening in Israel. For the past ten years Israeli leadership has negotiated with terrorist killers, meeting and shaking hands with them in Jerusalem. Israel has abandoned major portions of the heart of our land to terrorists, leading to killing after killing. Israel, negotiating with Hizballah, is on the verge of releasing over a thousand terrorists for the release of an alleged Israeli criminal and the bodies of three murdered soldiers. In response to American pressure Israel is still ‘easing up’ on the ‘innocent palestinian population.’ The list goes on and on.

Of course, the heart of the problem I have yet to mention. That is, freedom of speech – the right to freedom of expression. Yesterday I visited one of my wife’s uncles in Jerusalem. Way back in pre-state Israel, Uncle Meir was a member of the Etzel – the right-wing Jewish underground working to expel the British from Eretz Yisrael. He told me that later, after the founding of the state, when a Teudat Zehut – an identity card was issued to all Israeli citizens, all members of the right-wing underground movements received numbers beginning with 19. This was used to identify all ‘opponents’ of the state, i.e., the left, in order to badger them and prevent them from reaching any position of power within Israel. Fifty four years later, things haven’t changed. Voicing opinions that directly oppose those of the ruling junta just cannot be allowed. Even at the cost of freedom of speech.

Unprecedented legal maneuvering has prevented the legalization of Arutz 7. Israeli law forbids private radio stations from broadcasting. A law attempting to resolve problems dealing with Arutz 7 and other religious radio stations was struck down by the Supreme Court. Despite the huge costs involved, Arutz 7 broadcast from a ship located outside the legal territorial borders of Israel. However, after a five year trial, a court today ruled that the station is illegal.

For fifteen years Arutz 7 has been the voice of sanity in Israel. Their broadcasts have included Torah, current events and love of Eretz Yisrael. This is, undoubtedly, the reason why the government and the left have worked so hard to bring it down. It won’t surprise me if soon, the Knesset passes a bill outlawing love of Eretz Yisrael. For anyone who cherishes this land is at odds with the government, which still believes that dividing the land is the solution to all our problems.

It is clear that the tremendous opposition to Arutz 7’s continued existence is due to the immense support the station has around the world, and also, to its magnificent success. Had Arutz 7 been a small, inconsequential radio station, no one would have lifted a hand against it. The fact that Arutz 7 is so influential attests to the attempts made to shut it down. I hope and pray that public uproar, in Israel and around the world will reach such proportions that will force the reopening of the station.

Arutz 7 is the Israeli voice of sanity. The repression of Arutz 7 can only be described as total insanity. Sanity will win out.


Sincerely,

Your Signature Here