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Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Israelis broadcasting messages of peace to Iranians

From Israel HaYom/AP:
While Israeli leaders are increasingly sounding belligerent warnings of a potential military strike against Iran’s nuclear installations, a group of Iranian-Israelis are transmitting a different message.

Radio RADISIN, a private Persian-language station based in Tel Aviv, airs Iranian music, poetry and current affairs shows aiming to spread peace between the Israeli and Iranian people - regardless of who is in power in Tehran.

“We, the people in Israel, are a peaceful nation and not an enemy, or the ‘little Satan’ as we are described by the Iranian regime,” said Shay Amir, the station’s 42-year-old CEO, who left Iran for Israel after the 1979 Islamic revolution. “For 32 years, the regime has poisoned its people against Israel. We are here to tell the truth.”

RADISIN broadcasts 24 hours a day via the Internet, satellite and cable TV. It says 100,000 listeners tune in daily, including an undisclosed number from Iran, where Internet speeds are slow and many sites, including those of political opposition groups, are blocked.

It is not the only Israeli media directed toward Iran. Israel’s state-run radio station has been broadcasting in Persian for 50 years from a spartan studio off a narrow Jerusalem alleyway.

It also chats with Iranians via a switchboard in Germany to get around a ban on calls from Iran to the Jewish state. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has even named the “Zionist broadcast” as among those behind civilian unrest in his country.

RADISIN relies mainly on anonymous sponsors and donations and it airs some commercials. It takes calls from Iranian listeners who often criticize the regime in Tehran and express affection for Israel.

For fear of exposing these callers - and having them branded as collaborators by the Iranian regime - the station asked The Associated Press not to record the conversations.

Others in Iran have been less enamored by the Israeli broadcast. “Twice from Iran, they hacked our website and caused damage, and because of this we decided to switch and air via satellite,” Amir said.