With a Little Help from Friends, Pirate Station Returns to the Air

One week after being closed down by Israeli authorities for operating without a license, a right-wing pirate radio station has returned to the airwaves, broadcasting from a boat outside Israel’s territorial waters.

Police last week raided the station, Channel Seven, confiscating equipment while the station’s boat was docked at the port of Ashdod for repairs.

The incident raised a storm in the Knesset, with opposition members calling the move an attempt by the government to stifle voices of the opposition.

“There is a horrible feeling that this is dangerous policy,” said Likud faction leader Moshe Katsav. “Is talking also prohibited?”

Katsav was one of six Knesset opposition members – including Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and Rafael Eitan, leader of the right-wing Tsomet Party – who tried out their sea legs and joined Channel Seven in its first day of broadcast this week.

Staff at the radio station said they were able to get back on the air because supporters from abroad had donated money and equipment.

Meanwhile, Communications Minister Shulamit Aloni has asked a parliamentary committee that oversees broadcasters, to discuss a proposal submitted by Abie Nathan to restart broadcasts of “The Voice of Peace” from a permanent location inside Israel.

For more than 20 years, “The Voice of Peace” made its pirate-radio broadcasts from a boat off the shores of Israel. Its initiator, Abie Nathan, took the station off the air when Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization embarked on their historic peace process. But in the wake of the recent debate about Channel Seven, Nathan has called for resuming his broadcasts.

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