‘Any other country in the world would…’ department:
Why is this man walking around free?
In 1985, Mordechai Vanunu, left his job as a technician at Israel’s nuclear installation in Dimona. Before leaving he took several rolls of film and in 1986 helped the UK Sunday Times write a bombshell story (so to speak) exposing the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Vanunu revealed that Israel had ten times the number of bombs heretofore thought, and that it was developing hydrogen and neutron weapons.
Vanunu was lured into a trap in Italy by a female Mossad agent; he was brought back to Israel and sentenced to 18 years imprisonment for “transmission of secret information with the intent to harm state security, collecting secret information with the intent to harm state security and of aiding the enemy during a state of war”. When he was released in 2004, he was forbidden from leaving the country, meeting foreigners or even having a cell phone. I presume he is carefully watched day and night.
Born a Jew in Morocco in 1954 (but not, as Wikipedia says, the son of a rabbi), Vanunu converted to Christianity and now lives in an Anglican monastery in Jerusalem. He insists that he was incarcerated as punishment for his conversion. Right.
During the time that he worked at Dimona, Vanunu was also a part-time student at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, studying Philosophy and Geography. According to www.vanunu.org, he experienced a “political awakening”, and “opposed [the] Israeli invasion of Lebanon and criticized the Israeli states [sic] militarism and policy toward the Palestinians in Israel and occupied territories.”
When I get out of the prison, I am saying many, many times that I am very glad, happy and proud to reveal its nuclear secrets to all the world and to let all the world to see the stupidity of Israel’s nuclear weapons policy and the danger of a nuclear weapons policy in secret by Israel. And I was not a traitor. The real traitors are Israel’s government who was behind this nuclear weapons policy for 40 years, and continues. They are betraying the Israeli citizens, and betraying the Arab community, and betraying all of humanity and the world, the human beings of all the world. They are the real traitors.
Vanunu continued that
This means Israel was ready to use nuclear weapons in the next war, in 1986 if it had war with Iraq, or Iran or Syria. It could use them against armies. That means the beginning by Israel using atomic bomb…. That was the most dangerous point in the Middle East: Israel, they could have used nuclear weapons like no other state there…
Since only the lunatic fringe would accuse Israel of wanting to expand beyond the post-1967 borders, any such use in war would be defensive. It’s notable that since Israel developed its nuclear arsenal in the late 1960’s, it has never been used, neither directly nor even as a threat. Instead it has been a last-resort deterrent, and an effective one, against enemies such as Syria, which have massive amounts of non-conventional weaponry. Vanunu’s view that it is a ‘danger’ for Israel to have a nuclear capability is entirely the opposite of the truth.
One wonders where his distorted ideology came from. But it’s possible to guess. Ben Gurion University of the Negev today is a center of leftist extremism in Israel, with faculty like Neve Gordon and others espousing positions similar to those of Vanunu.
Vanunu is now on house arrest after violating, for the nth time, the provisions of his release agreement. In an Arab country or Russia, he would be long dead. In the US, where the Rosenbergs were executed and where Jonathan Pollard continues to serve a life sentence for far less serious acts, he would still be in prison. But Vanunu wants — are we surprised? — to go to the US!