Memories

During the summers of 1976 and 1977 I worked on a kibbutz in Israel (between semesters in college). While I worked in the fields the radio was always tuned to one station: “The Voice of Peace.” The on-air slogan was “From somewhere in the Mediterranean, we are the Voice of Peace.” It was very popular in Israel back then; it seemed as if that was the only radio station I ever heard while I was on there. Since it was sort of a pirate station, it was broadcasting from a ship, and hence the statement that they were coming from “somewhere in the Meditteranean.”

Now they have a Facebook page and stream online:

www.thevoiceofpeace.co.il

Wikipedia’s description of the station:

The aim of the Voice of Peace, rumoured to have been established with money from John Lennon, was to communicate peaceful co-existence to the volatile Middle East. The output was popular music presented by mostly British DJs broadcasting live from the ship. The main on-air studio consisted of a Gates Diplomat mixer, Technics SL-1200 turntables, Sony CD Players, and Gates NAB cartridge machines, on which the jingles and commercials were played. The second studio, for production, had a Gates turntable, reel-to-reel tape recorders, and an NAB cartridge recording unit.

Voice of Peace was Israel’s first offshore pop station and the first commercially-funded private operation. The station’s American PAMS, CPMG, JAM, and TM Productions jingles, English-speaking DJs, and Top 40 hits attracted sponsors such as TWA and Coca Cola. Initially, the station transmitted on 1539 AM (announced as 1540 AM) and in 1980 added a signal at 100.0 FM….

The Voice of Peace was primarily in English, but a small output included Hebrew, Arabic, and French. Several shows ran for nearly its entire life, including Twilight Time (daily at 18:00, using the Platters hit of the name as its theme), the Classical Music Programme (daily from 19:30), and Late Night Affair (00.00-03.00).

The telephone forum chaired by Abie Nathan called “Kol Ha Lev” (Voice of the Heart) and then Ma La’asot? (?מה לעשות, “What to do?”) was the only uncensored direct public dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Voice of Peace was tolerated by the Israeli Government, as Abie Nathan was a personality in the country; however the IBA was alarmed at its popularity and set about a state-run pop service, Reshet Gimel, in May 1976. Nathan was imprisoned on several occasions for violating laws forbidding contact with enemy states and the PLO.

I found out about the station’s revival as an online streaming service when someone posted a link to their Facebook page on the Facebook page of the kibbutz I worked on so long ago. It brings back a lot of memories.

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About R.P. Nettelhorst

I'm married with three daughters. I live in southern California and I'm a deacon at Quartz Hill Community Church. I spent a couple of summers while I was in college working on a kibbutz in Israel. In 2004, I was a volunteer with the Ansari X-Prize at the winning launches of SpaceShipOne. Member of Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion, and The Authors Guild
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