Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Mordechai and Me

"Raise your hand if you've heard of Mordechai Vanunu." Sometimes I ask this question when I speak about the situation in Israel and Palestine. I'm happy to say that usually a few people have heard to Mordechai, but the number is usually small. Too small.

That's Mordechai and me in the picture above. I was incredibly excited to get to meet Mordechai when I was last in Jerusalem. Mordechai Vanunu did something for each of us, something that he has paid for dearly.

Mordechai is the Israeli Daniel Ellsberg. (Oh no. Don't tell me I should be asking h many people know Daniel Ellsberg.) Formerly a nuclear technician, Mordechai choose to tell the world of Israel's nuclear weapons program. Israeli secret agents captured him in Rome on September 30th, 1989. Mordechai then spent 18 years in prison for revealing Israel's Dimona nuclear weapons facility secretes.

That's 18 years Mordechai spent in jail for all us. For the world. Mordechai choose to expose Israel's nuclear weapons program with hopes of keep the world safe from them. He went to jail because nuclear weapons are not a dirty little secret, but something about which the whole world must know. Mordechai knew that undeclared nuclear weapons in the hands of any nation make all of us less safe.

Mordechai should be celebrated as a hero, but why write of him now? Well, Mordechai is still paying for what he did for all us. He has been out of jail for two years and under strict restrictions imposed by the Israeli government. He is forbidden to leave Israel or move freely inside Israel. He is also forbidden to speak to foreign nationals may not move freely inside Israel; is forbidden to speak to foreign nationals "for fear of causing damage to the security of the State." Last week, these restrictions were extended for a third year.

Experts say that Mordechai has no more secrets to tell. Why then is this man, whom we should celebrate, being put through another year of punishment?

Mordechai spent 11 and a half years in solitary confinement during his 18 year sentence. Now, he’ll spend another year under restrictions. Enough is simply enough.

Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz wrote an excellent article about Mordechai’s plight: More information about Mordechai can be found at this own website:

Please tell other people you know about Mordechai’s plight.

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