Crossing Paths with a Whistleblower

by Eileen Fleming - Date: 2006-10-30 - Word Count: 1819 Share This!

Mordechai Vanunu grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home but abandoned the faith by his mid teens. He became interested in the existentialist writers and was an atheist for nearly two decades before he converted to Christianity. He was baptized just weeks before he was kidnapped by the Mossad, endured a closed door trial and then spent the next 18 years in jail-most of it in solitary for telling the world the truth: that Israel had gone nuclear.

Although 'freed' in April 2004, he is forbidden to leave Israel, forbidden to speak to media and to foreigners under the draconian restrictions of the Emergency Defense Regulations which were implemented first by Britain against Palestinians and Jews after World War II.

After WW II, Attorney Yaccov Shapiro, who later became Israel's Minister Of Justice, described the Emergency Defense Regulations which denies Vanunu the inalienable rights of freedom of speech and movement as "unparalleled in any civilized country: there were no such laws in Nazi Germany."[N.S. Ateek, Justice and Only Justice p.34]

On May 14, 1948 The Declaration of the establishment of Israel affirmed: "One the day of the termination of the British mandate and on the strength of the United Nations General Assembly declare The State of Israel will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel: it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion it will guarantee freedom of religion [and] conscience and will be faithful to the Charter of the United Nations."

In the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -which Israel agreed to uphold and was contingent upon its statehood-Vanunu does speak to media and foreigners, and could very well face more jail time for doing so.

In my March 2006 interview with the Whistleblower he stated, "This administration tells me I am not allowed to speak to foreigners, the Media, and the world. But I do because that is how I prove my true humanity to the world. My freedom of speech trial began January 25, 2006 for speaking to the media, the same day as the Palestinian elections" and only three journalists were present to cover this historic case which resumes October 30, 2006.

Just before my first journey to Israel and Palestine in June 2005, a Palestinian American warned me, "Don't visit Vanunu, if you see him, and don't speak to him. He's not allowed to speak to foreigners and you could cause him trouble."

I responded, "OK, I won't track him down, but Jerusalem is a small town and if our paths cross, I will speak to him. What kind of government is that, that will tell a human being who they can and cannot talk with?"

I did not cross paths with Vanunu until the third Tuesday in June which was five days before I returned to the USA. I had spent a most horrific day in Hebron-the most painful experience in my life. Hebron is where 450 Israeli settlers are protected by 3,000 IDF. Above the narrow winding stoned streets a thick deeply sagging netting is strung for protection from all the huge rocks, shovels, electronic equipment, furniture and all manner of debris that have been flung onto it by the settlers in hopes it will give way and hit any Palestinian who is passing underneath it.

Many of the formerly Palestinian homes in Hebron have graffiti such as "GAS THE ARABS" and Stars of David painted upon them. I felt like I had entered into every movie set and photograph I had ever seen of the ghettos during World War II.

When I returned to my room at the Ambassador Hotel that afternoon I had no intention of going back out. But the second I got out of the shower, the phone rang and it was Tony from Ramallah, [an Internet connection] who happened to be in Jerusalem that day seeing a Doctor. Tony invited me to dinner and we walked towards the Old City in search of a restaurant. On our way was St. George Cathedral where Vanunu had been living, and we stopped in hoping to invite him along. As we entered the courtyard, Vanunu was leaving for a meeting. I imagine if we had arrived a few minutes later we would have missed him completely and I most likely would never have crossed paths with the Whistleblower of Israel's WMD Program.

But, that chance meeting led to my opportunity to spend a few hours with Vanunu over the next few days. I was curious as to what kind of a kid he had been and why he became a Christian. What I learned is in Chapter 11 of Keep Hope Alive.

It is remarkable, perhaps even miraculous, that Vanunu is not crazy from being locked up in solitary for most of the 18 years he spent in jail and the frustrations of the past 2 ½ years of restrictions against him that keep him captive in Jerusalem.

What Vanunu told me in June about his time in jail was, "The Shen Beet, you know like the FBI and the Mossad, like your CIA were watching me. They tortured me by keeping a light on in my cell constantly for 2 years. They told me it was because they were afraid I would commit suicide, and the oppressive camera was for my safety. They recruited the guards and other prisoners to irritate me. They would deprive me of sleep by making loud noises near my cell all night long.

"I chose to read them 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 instead; Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with THE TRUTH! It always protects, it always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres. Love never fails.

"For the first five years I was in prison every day, twice a day I would loudly pray by reading Bible verses. I would also read the Anglican service from the Book of Common Prayer. I did it twice a day, every day for five years. I began to see I had become like a machine. I knew if I continued I would lose my mind. So after that I only prayed in silence. Although I knew I was driving them nuts with my loud praying, it was driving me nuts too. I changed my routine. I began reading more books about health, nutrition, history, philosophy, literature and kept my prayer life quiet."

I asked Vanunu, "When you were baptized in Sydney just a few months before you were abducted and tried, you took the name John Crossman. Was that because of St. John of the Cross and his The Dark Night of The Soul?"

Vanunu replied, "I haven't read him."

Not many have and he is not an easy read. John of the Cross was a Spanish poet and mystic who wrote about the contemplative life and Divine union of the soul with God in this life. He was an ardent disciple of Theresa of Avilla's reforms which greatly antagonized and agitated the church hierarchy during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. John of the Cross received a great deal of abuse for his thoughts and he spent much of his of time in prison writing.

Vanunu will return to Israeli Supreme Court on October 30, 2006, to find out if the restrictions against him will continue or if he will go back to jail for exercising the inalienable right to free speech. His historic FREEDOM OF SPEECH trial in a Mid East democracy began January 25, 2006 masterfully obfuscated by the Palestinian elections held on the same day.

In my March 2006 interview with the whistleblower we discussed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and how Vanunu has been denied them.

Article 1 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights upholds that: All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in the spirit of brotherhood.

Vanunu responded, "When I decided to expose Israel's nuclear weapons I acted out of conscience and to warn the world to prevent a nuclear holocaust. The Israeli media demonized me, they published many lies about me and Israel kept me totally isolated in prison for most of the 18 years. I am also regarded as a traitor because I was baptized a Christian."

Article 18 of the UDHR affirms that: Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right includes freedom to change one's religion.

Vanunu has consistently affirmed, "My Christian conversion was also considered as treason and led to me receiving more time in jail than any murderer has ever served. The Israelis have this very beautiful article about freedom and liberty but they want to destroy anyone who criticizes them for revealing the truth to the world. The world must look and see what kind of democracy Israel is when one speaks out the truth."

Article 13 of the UDHR upholds that: Everyone has the right to freedom of movement. Vanunu and millions of Palestinians have been denied this inalienable right under the draconian British Emergency Mandate Regulations and the concrete wall/electrified fence that has been repeatedly deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice for it does not follow the Green Line and divides Palestinians from their land, water and families.

Vanunu stated, "It's very sad that Hilary Clinton went to the Jewish Wailing Wall and forgot the real crying wall is the Palestinian wall: the apartheid wall. The Wall is not for defense, but to keep this conflict permanent.The people who need the help are the Palestinian Christians. We need all Christians to come and see the true facts on the ground.

"The Dimona is 46 years old; reactors last 25 to 30 years. The Dimona has never been inspected and Israel has never signed the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty but all the Arab states have…Twenty years ago when I worked there they only produced when the air was blowing towards Jordan ten miles away. No one knows what is happening now.

"The Israelis have 200 atomic weapons and they accuse the Palestinians and Muslims of terrorism. The world needs to wake up and see the real terrorism is the occupation and the Palestinians have lived under that terror regime for 40 years.

"Israel propaganda portrays all Palestinians as Muslim extremists and Hamas terrorists and neglect that Palestinian Christians are following the true message of Jesus Christ with nonviolent resistance. We need all Christians to come and see the truth for themselves. Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew."

This reporter returns to Jerusalem in November 2006 to be a member of Sabeel's 6th International Conference: The Forgotten Faithful/Palestinian Christians and Reality Tour through the West Bank.

Eileen is a retired RN, activist, author, poet, reporter and editor for the WAWA Blog:http://www.wearewideawake.orgShe returns to the West Bank in November 2006 and will be reporting on WAWA. Your Article Search Directory : Find in Articles

© The article above is copyrighted by it's author. You're allowed to distribute this work according to the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs license.

Recent articles in this category:

Most viewed articles in this category: