Bad 'reception' for Mevaseret mall's covert cellphone antennas

Five antennas belonging to Partner Communications were surreptitiously erected on the popular mall over the last several months.

The council of Mevaseret Zion, a Jerusalem suburb, is taking action against the Harel Mall and a cellphone company for erecting five illegal cellphone antennas on the roof of the mall, a local official said Sunday. The five antennas belonging to Partner Communications were surreptitiously erected on the popular mall over the last several months in violation of the law, and legal means would be taken to remove them, local councilman Gabi Yalon (Shinui) said. A total of 12 cellphone antennas are in place on the roof of the mall. Yalon said that Mevaseret representatives had approached the mall's owner back in August asking him to take down the six Cellcom cellphone antennas in place at the time due to health concerns, even though those antennas were erected with the relevant permits. Moti Prince, the mall's manager, promised to look into the matter but never got back to the local council, Yalon said. Instead, additional cellphone antennas were erected at the site during the last four months, including the illegal ones, he added. Prince, who signed the contracts with the cellphone companies, said Sunday that he had "no legal authority" to remove the cellphone antennas from the roof of the mall. He added that he would sue the councilman for libel if he went ahead with plans to call for a boycott of the mall until the cellphone antennas were removed. Yalon said that he was acting with the full backing of Mevaseret Zion Mayor Carmi Gilon and the unanimous support of the town council, and that the mall's owner was balking due to the large amount of money he was making from leasing out roof space to the cell phone companies. In the meantime, the local council will hold a special meeting Monday evening to take up the issue with dozens of worried residents expected to attend the public meeting. Concern over radiation emanating from cellphone antennas erected in close proximity to residential quarters or schools has increased dramatically over the last couple of years, with the proliferation of cell phone antennas nationwide. Two months ago, the Jerusalem Municipality said that it took legal action against the same cell phone company, Partner Communications, for erecting five illegal antennas on the roof of an old age home in Jerusalem's Malha neighborhood. The retirement home, Ella Residence, is located meters away from a school. The city's legal action against the cell phone company came after a months-long public campaign waged by residents.