Illegal antennae put on old-age home

Eleven cellular phone antennae have been erected on the roof of an old-age home in Jerusalem's Malcha neighborhood, including five that are illegal, posing a health hazard to the building's tenants and nearby residents, a cell phone antenna watchdog group and neighborhood residents said Wednesday. The Jerusalem Municipality confirmed Wednesday that five of the antennae at the site were illegal, and that the city had filed an indictment against Partner Communications, the cellular phone company that owned them. The court ordered the company to cease using the antennae and to remove them, while offering them the opportunity to also apply for a permit, the city spokesman said in a statement. A Jerusalem court judge will review the case in February. The retirement home Ellah Residence, which has recently housed former Jewish residents from the Gaza Strip as well as IDF soldiers, is located meters away from a neighborhood school. "We are getting radiation 24 hours a day and as time goes by, the number of cancer cases in the area continues to grow," said neighborhood resident and local committee activist Navah Zesak. The manager of the retirement home, who would only give his first name, Moshe, refused to comment Wednesday. The forum of cellular phone companies in Israel had asserted in a written response Wednesday that the antennae in place at the site had the required permits, and were operating in accordance with Environment Ministry regulations. A Friday afternoon protest by neighborhood residents is scheduled at the site. Last decade, antennae erected at a retirement home in the city's French Hill neighborhood were removed after public protest.