Jerusalem – Abie Nathan, who ran the Voice of Peace pirate radio station from the early 1970s until the mid-1990s, died in Tel Aviv at the age of 81 on Wednesday.

While his pacifistic station gained popularity over the years, there were times when it also earned a certain amount of notoriety.

On Yom Kippur in 1973, when I heard planes overhead and rumors of an impending war on two fronts, I came home from synagogue and listened to the only station that was broadcasting on Yom Kippur – Abie Nathan’s “Voice of Peace.”

His message: “Soldiers must refuse orders, and must not fight. Instead, they should extend a peaceful hand to the attacking Egyptian and Syrian armies.”

Throughout the day, Mr. Nathan played the song “(All We Are Saying Is) Give Peace A Chance,” and this was the only radio station that was operating.

“Throw down your guns. Do not fight back. Hug the oncoming Egyptian and Syrian troops” was the theme all day on that long Yom Kippur, and in the difficult days that followed.

A few days into the Yom Kippur War, Israeli intelligence closed down Mr. Nathan’s transmitter, which operated from Israel hotel magnate Yekutiel X. Federman’s Dan Hotel in Tel Aviv.

A Canadian journalist intern at the Beit Agron Press Center in 1989 who had previously interned with Mr. Nathan provided some insight into the operation.

The vast majority of the programming was conducted out of the Dan Hotel, the intern said. Since the radio station operated without a license, Mr. Nathan maintained the myth that The Voice Of Peace was only “broadcasting from somewhere in the Mediterranean.”

Abie Nathan, whose voice was silenced by a stroke for the past 10 years, will be remembered as the first Israeli to give legitimacy to justify those Israelis who simply did not want to defend the Jewish state in a time of war.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.