JERUSALEM: Merry Christmas, Mordecai

December 25, 2004

JERUSALEM: Merry Christmas, Mordecai

[Note: the following is an excerpt from a longer interview that CPTer Jerry
Levin wrote up as part of his "From the Inside Looking Out" series. People
wishing to receive the full report or to get put on Levin's direct mailing
list may contact him at]

Mordecai Vanunu [is] on the verge of celebrating his first Christmas among
friends after eighteen years in an Israeli maximum-security prison.
"My very first Christmas, as a Christian, was in prison all alone," he
says. "I ask the governor of the prison to find a walkman radio for me so I
can hear the mass from Bethlehem. So he gave it to me." But where prison
cooperation in matters of faith was concerned it was more or less downhill
for Mordecai after that.

Mordecai Vanunu was raised in an Orthodox Jewish family -- Years later,
after he left Israel to verify and expose its nuclear weapons program to a
startled world, he decided to embrace the teachings of Jesus.  "Before I
went to Sydney, Australia my  direction was toward becoming a Christian. Not
because I read and knew a lot about it, but because I knew that what Jesus
Christ taught was not acceptable for Israel. --

So how do you equate the Gospel message with what you are trying to do?

"I want to take the nuclear subject, which Israel is still keeping secret --and bring it into the light.--

Despite his release from prison last April, Mordecai Vanunu is not free. He is still more or less restrained by official restrictions and personal apprehensions to the only section of Jerusalem in which he feels safe: the heart of Palestinian East Jerusalem, where he is living in the guesthouse of Anglican St. George's Cathedral.--

[Recently] several car loads of heavily armed Israeli police wearing masks suddenly swooped down on St. George's and swarmed into the compound. "They had a warrant to search my room. I told them, `Okay. Go search.'"

They took all his materials: tapes, DVDs, notebooks, his computers. And they took him away for ten hours of interrogation before letting him go. Since then all his materials have been returned except the computers. He says, "-- I have no more secrets. All I know was published before they kidnap me in 1986."

"They can take my computers; but they cannot take my- email address," he says with a grin. "I can go to any computer in any internet-cafe and do my e-mails. I can answer my friends all over the world. I am still connected."

If that's the case, does he mind sharing his e-mail address so more people can be in touch? "Yes," he replies emphatically. "I am happy to receive e-mails and to send e-mails. I want to keep connected to all the world, to keep this story alive, and to let Israel know that they cannot silence me or silence my story. This is a good thing for me to do, because it is an example to other governments that the people in this modern age have much more power now that they are connected. Because of that we can overcome any secrecy."

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, Mordecai. Or better yet, Merry Christmas and a happier new Year,