TEL AVIV (Feb. 11)
Peace advocate Abie Nathan was released from prison Friday, after completing four months of a six-month sentence for meeting with Yasir Arafat and other officials of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
Leaving prison, he said he would do it again, “as soon as I get the chance,” in order to advance peace.
Nathan was convicted last Sept. 27 of violating the controversial Anti-Terror Law, which forbids Israelis from having contacts with members of terrorist organizations.
He freely admitted having had four meetings with Arafat, the most recent in Tunis just a year earlier. He said his purpose was to try to get an Israeli-Palestinian dialogue going.
Nathan was confined to a minimum security prison. He was released for good behavior after completing two-thirds of his sentence, according to the superintendent of prisons, Chief Inspector Shaul Levy.
“I am going to do my very best to overcome all obstacles and continue with my mission” Nathan told reporters as he left prison. “I’ll be talking to any Palestinians and Arabs who are willing to talk to me about peace.”
Communications Minister Gad Ya’acobi of the Labor Party on Friday proposed Nathan as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize, in recognition of his persistent efforts to bring about peace between Israel and its neighbors.
Those efforts date back to the early 1960s, when Nathan flew his private plane to Egypt twice in an attempt to talk to President Gamal Abdel Nasser. Both times he was expelled from the country.
For more than 20 years, Nathan has operated the “Voice of Peace” radio ship, which broadcasts pop music and peace messages in Hebrew and Arabic from outside Israeli territorial waters.