Peace activist Abie Nathan hospitalized

Peace activist Abie Nathan, who created the Voice of Peace radio station which broadcast for years from a ship off the Israeli coast, was hospitalized in moderate condition Thursday. The 79-year-old human rights activist, who personally broadcast messages of peace from the vessel, until he sank it in protest in 1993, arrived at Tel Aviv's Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov) early Thursday morning suffering from a high temperature, pneumonia and recurring problems caused by a debilitating stroke he suffered several years ago, said a hospital spokeswoman. Born in 1927 in the Persian city of Abadan, Nathan made world headlines in 1966 when he flew a one-man plane over Israel's border with Egypt to send a message of peace to the enemy. He was subsequently arrested and returned to Israel, marking the first of Nathan's many arrests in efforts to make peace in the Middle East. Nathan went on to lobby world leaders, politicians and intellectuals to help bring about an end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. In the 1980s, Nathan arranged illegal meetings with Palestinian Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat on several occasions and was imprisoned for clandestine acts at a time when unauthorized contact with the enemy was a crime. Nathan also organized peace rallies, mounted hunger strikes against Jewish settlement activity and was active on other political fronts. Even as recently as 2004, Nathan told The Jerusalem Post that he still wanted to meet with Arafat to discuss peace. The Voice of Peace transmitted programs in English, Arabic, Hebrew, French and Russian about what a better world it could be if there were peace.