The police are currently hunting for the directors and
broadcasters of the "pirate" radio stations, many of which
are religious-sponsored, and have even issued arrest warrants
against some of them. In the wake of the current legal and
media assault against the religious-sponsored pirate radio
stations, a number of them have stopped their country-wide
broadcasts out of fear that Broadcasting Authority
representatives with the aid of the Police might raid their
studios and detain their broadcasters.
Yated Ne'eman has learned that a number of the
directors and broadcasters of these stations have gone
underground, and some have even fled abroad until things calm
down. Some directors and broadcasters of the pirate stations
were interrogated, and the majority of them exercised their
right to maintain silence.
Last week, excerpts from the remarks of one of the
broadcasters on Kol Haneshama (a religious-sponsored station)
who had made sharp comments against the secular community
were aired throughout the media. The left-wing Keshev
organization, which monitors and records the religious
stations' programs, filed a complaint with the Police against
the broadcaster who had made those remarks. As a result, the
directors of Kol Haneshama feared that the police might raid
Other stations also feared a similar action and decided to
temporarily stop broadcasting.
Professionals in the field of radio broadcasting have said
that the pirate radio broadcasts, just like the legal ones,
should not disturb the airplanes at Ben-Gurion airport,
because these stations broadcast on FM, which does not
interfere with the airplanes. Only AM broadcasts are capable
of disrupting airline activity. Only the Israel Broadcasting
Authority and aviation control tower use AM.
The professionals raised the possibility that someone near
the airport is deliberately and maliciously transferring the
broadcasts of these stations to the planes on AM frequencies.
Others suggest that someone records the pirate stations and
rebroadcasts them on AM. His purpose, they believe, is to
enable it to be claimed that the pirate stations are
intercepting the airplanes' communication systems.
Officials of the stations said that the behavior of the
police and the Communications Ministry constitutes an
intolerable restriction on freedom of expression in a state
in which freedom of speech is still permissible, and that
they will not yield to the persecution campaign of these
bodies, but will continue to broadcast divrei Torah to
the public at large. The also rejected the claims that the
their broadcasts cause disturbances to the intercoms of the
planes. Recently, the identity of a number of people linked
to regional radio stations, and who are suspected of having
relayed the broadcasts of the pirate stations to the intercom
airplane intercoms, has been made discovered.
Many have raised questions about the timing of the moves to
suppress the independent broadcasters, coming right after the
elections in the Left won power in the government.
MK Rabbi Ravitz turned to the (outgoing) Communications
Minister, Limor Livnat, demanding that those responsible for
preventing communications interference not penalize innocent
stations. "The Knesset has passed legislation authorizing a
number of broadcasting stations, and all procedures against
them must be halted. I know that there was an `attack' on a
radio station which does not cause any interference
whatsoever, something which makes a very unfavorable
impression on a large sector of people. I don't think that
any procedures whatsoever against stations which do not cause
interference should be made upon this `festive' occasion,"
Rabbi Ravitz said.