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Jail Time and Fine for Operator of Kol HaEmet Radio

ota.jpgThe Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday sentenced Rabbi Shmuel Ben-Atar to nine months in prison and a NIS 100,000 fine for illegally operating the Kol HaEmet Radio station.

Among those present in the courtroom were Shas leader Minister Eli Yishai, Rav Uri Zohar, and chareidi actor Shuli Rand. They were all character witnesses on the rav’s behalf. They told the court that Gedolei Yisrael and government ministers were among the many interviewed on the air by Rav Ben-Atar over the years. They added that it is understood that there must be a channel for the chareidi audience to air their views and provide content suitable to their way of life and family members.

The rabbi was found guilty of a number of offenses including broadcasting without a license, illegal operation of a telegraph device and using radio frequencies without authorization, which communications ministry officials stated posed a danger to air traffic.

(Yechiel Spira – YWN Israel)

26 Responses

  1. There are countless Arab stations that operate without interference from the Government of Israel.

    This is another example of the secular crackdown on the growth of the Hareidi community. Like the Yidden, in the time of Pharoah, before the Geulah, Hareidim are growing by leaps and bounds.

    The AprikorSim in the secular Israeli Goverment will not succeed in suppressing the growth of Yidden in Eretz Yisroel.

  2. To # 3:
    Obviously this man is technically guilty.
    Many people have stated that freedom of
    speech simply doesnt exist in Israel
    today. If true, it is necessary to find
    some out of channel method to communicate.
    May h’ save us from their wickedness!!!

  3. Raising a point. It is illegal right? Dangerous? It definitely is to air traffic! No one is saying that he is a bad person and that a charedei radio station isn’t necessary, but don’t do something illegal and cry anti Semite! May hashem have rachmonis and grant people the intelligence not to do stupid things!

  4. may this judge be judged by [lehavdil] the true judge of judges for this travesty of (so called) justice
    its amazing how the warped,biased,and one sided justice system is able to get away with this
    i hope rav benatar will appeal this ruling though knowing the system it wont really help as they’re all cut from the same cloth
    only eitza is tefiloh for the geuala

  5. It is very appropriate for this court the posuk in mishli “matztik rushu marshiah tzadik to’avas hshem gam shneyhem”

  6. Futzer, and all the rest that speak without knowing what really happens in the chareidi loving state of israel, the fact is there are numerous illegal radio stations run by arabs that actually really interfere with air traffic control and the government does absolutely nothing, nada, now does it seem odd to anyone that there isn’t any chareidi radio stations that operate legally now the shallow headed are going to say you see the chareidim don’t keep the law, now does anyone with half a head really think the chareidim want to break the law and risk jail time the answer is NO so then why don’t they just go and get a license to run a frum radio station aha the answer is because they won’t give them a license they hate chareidim and they don’t want anything to do with spreading torah C”V than when a rav makes a radio station and spreads the word of hashem they selectively enforce the law and give him a hefty jail sentance and fine which are unherd of.

  7. Dear Sholom Aleichem (No 8):

    Please use your head, before you comment.

    If illegal broadcasts really are so dangerous to air traffic, why are “pirate” Arab stations allowed to operate with impunity.

    Don’t you see that the authorities are simply concocting an excuse as a cover story for their suppression of Hareidi outreach radio.

    They don’t want the wider Israeli public–especially the Sefardim–who are Temimisdige Yidden, to be exposed to authentic Judaism, lest they become interested in learning more about the heritage that has been deliberately hidden from them by the ReShoIm in the Israeli educational system.

  8. Dina D’malcusa Dina – According to many poskim, Dina D’Malchusa does NOT apply in the Zionist state (precisely because of the illegitimacy of the State.)

    Why aren’t they JAILING Arutz 7’s operator?

  9. Also the Ran in Nedarim writes that dina dmalchusa dina stems from the fact that the Melech can expel his people from his land. It’s basically a tax of living in the country. Thus, the Ran writes his famous shitah, that since all Jews are entitled to live in Israel, there is no dina dmalchusa there.

  10. to#8 & others
    the claim of danger to air traffic was investigated along time ago {when the police closed him down] &it was declared 100% safe.
    as was reported [insome ]of the media.
    at the time rabbi o. yosef said this publicly &decried their false accusations.

  11. to #18
    yes rav dessler heard of it very well; See michtav m’eliyahu to understand the answer to ur subtle remark.

  12. To all those that say dina d’malchusa; I’m pretty sure there is no dina d’malchusa with a jewish government that operates against torah u’mitzvohs. (I just can’t verify the source right now.) Also, all of you screaming that he should apply for a broadcasting license obviously never tried to get one. They WILL NOT give them to chareidim. Period! Why do you think there are no legal chareidi radio stations in Israel?

  13. First of all, almost all Gedolim held that with a secular goverment in Israel there is no Dina Dmalchuso, because the land does not belong to them.
    Secondly, they are not the ones breaking the law by not applying for licenses, it’s the Broadcast Authority that is breaking the law by denying licenses to frum stations. That’s not Dina Dmalchuso, that’s Corruption Dmalchuso!
    BTW, I never heard of Air Traffic controllers using the standard Fm frequency for their communications.

  14. This is ridiculous – jailing the man for operating a radio station!

    To those who think that an illegal FM radio can affect air travel or emergency services, need a quick lesson in electrical engineering.

    The emergency services typically use frequencies between 70.5 – 82MHz, some pager traffic around the 150Mhz mark and some around 450 – 467 MHz bands. None of these frequencies are directly affected by transmissions in the FM band otherwise they would receive interference every day from the legal stations. Have there been any reports of interference with emergency services?

    If it’s the link transmitters (and not the regular broadcasts) which are used to connect the pirates’ studios to the transmitter site, they operate wither at Band I (47 – 68 MHz) which would either immediately affect local services (and so detected immediately and hence useless) or not all. Alternatively (more likely) they operate at microwave frequencies, which won’t cause interference.

    In simpler terms: they are simply using the same bands as regular channels but unlicensed. air and emergency services certainly do not use any channels near these frequencies to avoid interference with legal stations.

    It may be illegal but to put a man in jail for it shows a sad lack of justice.

    But don’t just stand there, reading this is a bitual zman unless you do something. Write to the MKs, the Justice Ministry. Write letters of support to this poor man’s family. Don’t pontificate about dnei dmalchusa dina when this poor man’s family is going to be without him for most of a year because the judge knows as much about radio mechanics as the chachomim on this board.


  15. charvona,

    Dina Dmalchusa dina, if you loo into the sugya, applies to taxes. going against a red light is not assur in the dina dmalchusa dina category

  16. #27 Of course it applies to taxes – so how come so many yidden don’t pay their taxes appropriately? (or at all; “discount for cash”)

  17. The point of discussing Dina Dmalchusa isn’t to provide him a defense in secular court. It is whether his action were HALACHICALY unjustified.

    Legally (secular speaking), he is asking why is he being judicially singled out and being treated differently than others committing the same offense. i.e. Was Arutz 7’s operator JAILED?

  18. charvona, sammygol, et al: You’re missing the point. What he did may have been clearly illegal but it’s ridiculous to jail him for 9 months. As I and some others have pointed out, there is no risk to air traffic or emergency services any more than from any legal station.

    Think about it – he’s going to sit in a jail, he will have no parnonsa, his wife will be without a husband, his kids without a father for 9 months. It’ll be a huge burden on the family and an embaressment – for operating a radio station in a normal FM band!

    This is a shanda. Go write to the Justice Ministry. Even if he’s a guilty as sin there is a matzvah of pidyon shvuin.

  19. Chavrona: Di darf zein a grosa shota tzi shrabin azeleche zachen vegen nish tzutzolen taxes in a ofener platz vos yeddeh orel can arumkiken. es ken unkumen a groisa chillul hashem

  20. #34 (charvona)

    Efsher takeh azoi… obber farvus darfst du zein aza shoiteh un gein mefarseim zein far der gantzeh velt??!!

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