TEL AVIV (Oct. 10)
Peace activist Abie Nathan, escorted by a noisy 1,000-car convoy of supporters, reported to the Eyal minimum-security prison Tuesday morning to begin serving a six-month sentence.
Nathan was sentenced last week for violating a 1986 law against contacts with terrorists. He freely admitted that he met with Palestine Liberation Organization chief Yasir Arafat and other PLO figures in Tunis and Paris several times last year.
He made clear he will continue such activities when he is released from jail if they can advance the cause of peace.
His arrival at prison was itself a peace rally.
Nathan was accompanied by some 2,000 well-wishers who honked horns and blew bugles.
Loudspeakers on cars blared the familiar signature of Nathan’s “Voice of Peace” radio ship, which broadcasts peace messages and pop music from international waters.
Scores of Knesset members from the Labor Party and left-wing factions were in the throng along with popular entertainers.
A heavy police force diverted traffic from the site of the impromptu rally and kept away a small number of counterdemonstrators from Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach movement.
Before entering the jail, which is less a prison than a training school for prison guards, Nathan held aloft an olive branch.
“They’ve clipped my wings only for a little while, but they know I will be back on the air and I will be back to fly to every corner of the Earth if I have to, to search out the enemy, or what we call the enemy, and to talk to him, to convince him,” Nathan said.