Ketzaleh: "We Will Continue To Grow And Speak The Truth"

"Instead of being on trial, Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife Shulamit, and the national hero Yoel Tzur, should have been received the Israel Prize for their holy work." So says Arutz-7's Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh.

, | updated: 18:05

Yaakov Katz, known as Ketzaleh, spoke with Arutz-7 this morning, following the sentencing yesterday of the "Arutz-7 Ten." Fines of hundreds of thousands of shekels, and several months of community service for Ketzaleh, Yoel Tzur, and Shulamit Melamed, were levied upon the defendants for having operated the Arutz-7 radio station - for the benefit of its hundreds of thousands of listeners - without a license.

Despite lighter sentences than had been feared, "I am not happy with the conviction, the sentences, or the entire trial itself," Ketzaleh said. "Instead of being on trial, Rabbi Zalman Melamed and his wife Shulamit, and the national hero Yoel Tzur, should have been brought to the President's Home to receive the Israel Prize for their holy work, and for the cultural revolution they have carried out here... The trial was not based on hard evidence but rather on intuition and feelings that would not have withstood an objective test anywhere else."

Ketzaleh said that he is considering an appeal of both the conviction and the harsh sentences, "although we have to keep in mind the makeup of the judicial system, and thus our slim chances to win. For instance, when we [Arutz-7] sued columnist Ya'ir Lapid, son of Justice Minister Tommy Lapid, for having written that we did not pay royalties to the musicians - we won, and he had to pay us 70,000 shekels in fines - at one point, his lawyer said to us, 'But you murdered Rabin!' I saw that the judge did not react, so I turned to him and said, 'Your Honor, will you let that stand?' - and his response was, 'Stop with the demagoguery and just answer the question.' Do you hear? I should answer the accusation that I killed Rabin... This is the type of atmosphere. In addition, in yesterday's session, the judge proudly said that on the day he delivered his ruling convicting us, 'the voice of Arutz-7 was silenced.' This, he feels, is his great accomplishment: the silencing of Arutz-7. So you see the atmosphere in the courts...
"The only thing is that Arutz-7 was not silenced, it continues to broadcast over the internet and over the phone - although hundreds of thousands of listeners throughout the country still can't hear us...
"The atmosphere in the cultural and media communities, too, was hostile. The news reports on the day before our sentencing repeatedly emphasized that we were facing severe sentences of 3-4 years or more in jail, and fines of up to three million shekels - they purposely fired up the atmosphere. Similarly, not one professor, author or media personality stood up against this blow to the freedom of speech and to the closing of a radio station. The media world, unfortunately, is one of lies. They don't care about freedom of speech, but only about freedom for the Palestinians and uprooting the Jewish and Land-of-Israel character of the country."

In reference to the Cabinet decision of this week to establish three new national radio stations and the possibility that Arutz-7 could submit a bid for the "Yesha" slot, Ketzaleh said,
"I don't think that Yoel Tzur, Shulamit Melamed, and myself - people who were just convicted - will go for this tender, since that might enable certain elements to disqualify us. But there are other capable people who are very close to Arutz-7 who can do so instead. The bottom line is that no one will be able to stop our broadcasts - even [left-wing Labor MK] Avraham Burg has said that there are people who simply don't want to listen to the public radio - nor those of anyone else, and people will just have to be masters over themselves not to watch or listen to things that they are [Halakhically] not allowed to... Thousands of people are already signing onto our special internet service, with or without a screen, so that they can hear us 24 hours a day...
"It will take a long while before the Cabinet decision becomes a reality for us. They have to first decide which audiences the stations will target, and whether Yesha will be one of them, and then they have to decide if Arutz-7 can participate and with which people, and then we have to see if Arutz-7 wins, and there will be court appeals and the like... But we have to have faith. Rabbi Melamed has always taught us that from every negative thing we reap gain. We are men of faith and we adhere to Hashem and to those who teach His Torah. Arutz-7 will continue to grow, with radio and internet and our newspaper [B'Sheva] and soon television, and soon we will hold the Jerusalem Conference [see below] with Senators, ministers, and other important public figures, and we will grow and continue to provide the truth for the people of Israel."