The Voice of Peace

In 1973 with backing & support from John Lennon, the philanthropist and peace activist Abie Nathan raised enough money to set up the ‘Peace Ship’ which eventually broadcast off the Israeli coast to countries around the Eastern Mediterranean.

The style of 24 hour pop music with mainly international English speaking DJ’s was one that had never been heard before in the region.

Messages of peace were broadcast to both Israelis and Palestinians & from monies raised; humanitarian aid was bought which was equally distributed to people directly affected by the continuing troubles in the region.

Various projects were set up, focusing on young people to help break down the prejudices forced upon them by deep rooted mistrust.

For 20 years the station broadcast from the ‘Peace Ship’ until 1993. After the peace accord was signed between Israel and Palestine,

Abie decided that the stations work was done and it was closed. Never one to miss an opportunity under Abie’s orders and watchful eye the boat was scuttled hoping to help raise the world’s awareness to the need for peace in the region.

In 2010 with the help of a band of volunteers and enthusiasts it was decided that the time was right to resurrect The Voice of Peace radio station so the message of peace could be spread again through music.

The Voice of Peace was unique as it brought the music that could never be heard in a local radio station in the Eastern Mediterranean. We are here to try and bring that success again but this time, using 21st Century technology, with the ability to listen to us around the world via the internet.

With the scuttling of the radioship Peace in 1993 and the death of founder and inspirator Abie Nathan in 2008, it seemed as if the curtain had fallen for The Voice of Peace. But an enthusiastic group of former crewmembers and DJ’s recreated the VoP: ‘the legendary offshore station is back’ and even celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. International Report spoke to Andy Cox, crewmember of yesterday’s and today’s VoP.

The story seems to resemble that of colleague offshore station Radio Caroline. After the broadcasts from a ship there was silence for more than a decade and then several attempts to revive the station sprung up. In the 1990’s there was an online radiostation on the website owned by former DJ Richard Doran Ticho. Nowadays this website is home to the VoP Network, which supports good causes, has a partnership with the new Voice of Peace and even supplies some radioprogrammes. Since 2006 original VoP programmes can also be heard on Radius 100FM (on the old FM frequency of the radioship Peace).

But The Voice of Peace as we know it now, was started by enthusiasts and former DJ’s like Doug Wood, Yaniv Dayan en Tami Tzabari, who at the end of 2009 decided to revive the station. After a long period of testing via the Israeli website, ‘1540 The Voice of Peace’ commenced official programmes on 7 november 2009, with original programme names (like ‘Twilight Time’), DJ’s and jingles (like the classic ‘From somewhere in the Mediterranean, we are The Voice of Peace’, also in Hebrew, Arabic and French, on the intro of Junior Campbell’s Help Your Fellow Man - and of course Bill Mitchell’s deepest voice in ‘Peace is the word’).

In memory of Abie Nathan

“When the station was originally set up we approached and received permission from Henry Eskalasi, the personal assistant to Abie Nathan and in later years, his patron,” tells DJ Andy Cox via e-mail. “He and Nathan’s family have given us their blessing to continue the station in the way it was intended to be: playing quality music to the public in a professional manner, with the philosophy of spreading the message of peace where possible and keeping the memory of Abie Nathan and his good work alive.”

April 2010 saw a breach between the Israeli and the English team over a difference in opinion as to how the station should sound. Andy Cox: “Eventually the two groups parted and ‘The Voice of Peace’ run from Israel, as now heard, was born.”  A British VoP continued as ‘all time hits’ station on with DJ’s Doug Wood, Brian Matthews, Mark Stafford and Paul Douglas. Cox: “We wished them well at the time and still are in contact with many of the people involved in that group.”

“The original setting up of the station was very much a bit of fun and a tribute to the original station,” Andy Cox continues. “The old forum in the early days was full of entries about popping down to the engines, checking the generators, painting the boat etc. But after a while (and this is where the ‘difference of opinion’ came from) several of the team did not want the whole thing to be viewed by the radio world as a group of enthusiasts playing old retro music and reliving their past and memories: just a retro tribute station. They wanted the whole project to be as the original concept was: bringing quality new music and the best of the old skool music, professionally produced and played. And allowing a platform for new DJ’s (both international and local) to be heard.”

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The Voice of Peace

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