Abie Nathan Dead at 81

Peace activist, radio station founder, fighter pilot and restaurateur, Abie Nathan passed away in Tel Aviv Wednesday at the age of 81.

Hana Levi Julian and Gil Ronen,

Voice of Peace pirate radio ship
Voice of Peace pirate radio ship
Israel News Photo: (file)

The man who founded the "Voice of Peace" offshore radio station "from somewhere in the Mediterranean" is now truly at peace. Abie Nathan died Wednesday in Tel Aviv at the age of 81.

He was a leader in promoting a program of surrendering parts of the land of Israel to Arabs in exchange for promises of peace.

Nathan served as a fighter pilot with British forces during World War II and emigrated to Israel in the middle of its War of Independence in 1948. He served the Israeli Air Force until 1951 then settled down in Tel-Aviv, where he opened a popular restaurant.

In 1966 he flew his single-engine plane called "Shalom One" from Tel Aviv to Port Said, Egypt, where he was arrested and sent back to Israel. The flight made world headlines and a few weeks later he carried his campaign to Europe, the United States and even the Soviet Union.

Nathan met with politicians and intellectuals including Pope John Paul VI, Jean Paul Sartre, Francois Mauriac, Bertrand Russell, and Senator Robert Kennedy, among others, appealing to all to help end Arab-Israeli hostilities.

In 1973 his pirate radio station, "The Voice of Peace," began 20 years of broadcasting offshore from a ship whose location was identified in the famed on-air tagline as "somewhere out in the Mediterranean."

In 1977 he sailed through the Suez Canal with a cargo of chocolates and toys for children and later that year was part of an Israeli team which met President Anwar Sadat. In the 1980's, Nathan began regular meetings with the PLO and its leader Yasser Arafat. He was sentenced to jail time for these activities.





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