TEL AVIV (Nov. 29)
After 21 years of broadcasting messages of peace, Abie Nathan’s Voice of Peace floating radio station has found a place of rest at the bottom of the sea.
Nathan sank his ship at dusk Sunday off the coast of Ashdod.
In tears, Nathan stood on the deck of a small tugboat circling the ship after he had allowed water to flood the ship’s hull.
It took two hours before the ship disappeared under the waves. Before it sank, the last visible sign of the ship was the word “Peace” on the bow.
“It is the saddest day in my life,” Nathan said afterward.
He had signed off the radio station on Oct. 1 with a four-hour emotional monologue in which he reviewed his peace and humanitarian activities.
For the past 21 years “from somewhere in the Mediterranean,” Nathan had broadcast a 24-hour-a-day mixture of popular music and propeace messages.
On Oct. 1, Nathan announced his intent to sink the ship, citing mounting debts as well as the fulfillment of his dream of peace following the historic signing of the Palestinian self-rule accord in Washington on Sept. 13.
In October, several Israeli politicians, including Environment Minister Yossi Sarid and then Tel Aviv Mayor Shlomo Lahat, appealed to Nathan to beach the Voice of Peace off the coast of Tel Aviv, where it would be turned into a floating peace museum.
But Nathan said Sunday that he had received no further word about the plan for a museum and that he had decided to go ahead with the burial at sea.
“She’s become very old,” he said, “and it’s time to lay her to rest gracefully.”