M.V. Hatzvi

Ship details: The Hajduszoboszlo was built in 1967 in Angyalford Shipyard, Hungarian Ship and Crane works in Budapest. The ship was 244 feet long by 37 feet wide and of 1000 tons. The vessel was renamed Mount Parnis in 1986 and renamed MV Hatzvi (the deer, a traditional symbol of Israel) in 1988. Owned by the Blue Wave Shipping Company the vessel was registered in Valetta, Malta, and was manned by Tanzanian sailors.

On 21st October 1986, Arutz Sheva commenced test broadcasts on 918 kHz/327 metres.

The MV Hatzvi was anchored close to the MV Peace ship, home of the offshore station The Voice of Peace, just outside of Israeli territorial waters and directly across from the Tel Aviv Hilton Hotel.

Programmes were prerecorded onto cassettes in the studio in Bet El, and then taken out to the ship for broadcasting. Israeli broadcasters on board the ship act as technical operators and load the tapes ready for broadcasting.

In 1994, Several attempts were made by the Israeli Environment Minister, Yossi Sarid to close the station down, he claimed the station was “inciting certain sectors of the Israeli population to rebel against the Israeli Government”.

The attempts failed because the Maltese registered ship is moored outside of Israeli territorial waters off the coast of Tel Aviv.

When the owners of Arutz Sheva filed for renewal of the ships registration in 1995, the Maltese authorities refused. No reasons were given by the Maltese. The ship was re-registered, and began flying the flag of an African state.

On 31st July 1995, Israeli officials, police and soldiers raided the MV Hatzvi while in the port of Ashdod taking on supplies. Minister Ms Aloni, for the authorities claimed the ship had been broadcasting while inside territorial waters.

The stations management countered that the date they were claimed to have broadcast while inside Israeli territorial waters was within the “nine days of Av”, a period of mourning on the Jewish calendar during which it is forbidden to broadcast music. In fact they had announced for over a week that they would be off air for the full nine days.

Statements were taken from eight of the ships crew, then four transmitters were dismantled and removed from the ship.

The raid was the result of the Knesset parliament’s recent laws that have outlawed unlicensed radio / television stations. An Israeli Government spokesman said that if the Voice of Peace had still been broadcasting, that station would have been raided as well.

The raid caused an uprising in the Knesset among it’s supporters and critics, it was rumoured that Arts, Science and Communications Minister, Shulamit Aloni, had recommended the Knesset Committee on the Second Channel Radio and TV Broadcasts to give special consideration to Arutz Sheva and the Voice of Peace.

After the raid, the station received many offers of assistance and equipment to return to the air.

On 18th March 1988, due to bad weather conditions at sea, the Arutz-7 ship MV Hatzvi docked at the Tel-Aviv Marina in the evening.

On 22nd October 2003 the Hebrew newspaper Yediot Achronot reported that Arutz 7 is sending out redundancy letters to its staff and is putting the radio ship “Eretz Hatzvi” up for sale.

On 5th November, the Arutz 7 website reported that the radio ship “Eretz Hatzvi” had been sold, and by the afternoon would be on its way to new owners in Turkey. later the report was updated by Yoel Tzur (Arutz 7 technical manager) who said that the ship had been sold for scrap, and at 4:00 pm the ship will leave for Izmir in Turkey, where it will be sawn apart.

14th November. The ship was painted a darker blue colour around this time.

21st November. The Arutz ship left its ancourage off the coast of Tel Aviv coast.

10th December 2003. The ship breakers yard, Mariner Ltd Aliagalzmir-Turkey, stated that they had dismantled two thirds of the ship, and that the Cummins generator and radio equipment had been safely removed.

Offshore radio station: Arutz Sheva from 21st October 1988 until 20th October 2003 (exactly 15 years)

Location: Just within national waters off Tel Aviv (Israel)