Mordechai Vanunu


October 17, 2021

Mordechai Vanunu (Hebrew: מרדכי ואנונה, born October 13, 1954 in Marrakech) is an Israeli peace activist and former nuclear engineer, who made Israel's development and possession of nuclear weapons of mass destruction known to the public in 1986. This led to Vanunu being abducted by Israel the same year. (from Italy), sentenced to 18 years in prison and held in prison until 2004, for many years in solitary confinement. He was released from prison in 2004, but has not been allowed to leave Israel and is not allowed to talk to foreigners. Amnesty International has stated that "the organization considers Mordechai Vanunu a prisoner of conscience and demands his immediate release". Vanunu was Lord Rector of the University of Glasgow from 2005 to 2008, and has been an honorary doctor at the University of Tromsø since 2001. He has received the Right Livelihood Award (1987) and the People's Peace Prize (2005), and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize (including by former Peace Prize winner Józef Rotblat) a number of times. Daniel Ellsberg has described him as «the greatest hero of the nuclear age» .19. In May 2015, he married Kristin Joachimsen in the German congregation in Redeemer Church in Jerusalem.


Vanunu was born in Marrakech, Morocco, into a Jewish family; his father was a rabbi. In 1963, at the age of nine, he emigrated to Israel with his parents and four of his 11 brothers and sisters. He attended an ultra-Orthodox primary school, and a yeshiva (religious school) run by Bnei Akiva. Vanunu completed military service in Israel's defense as a sapper, with the rank of first sergeant. After military service, from 1976 to 1985, he worked as a nuclear technician and shift manager at the Dimona nuclear plant in the Negev Desert. At the same time, he was a part-time student in geography and philosophy at Ben-Gurion University. During this time, he became critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, and formed a peace group called the Campus, along with four other Jewish students and five Arab students, who advocated one state in Palestine. Vanunu was also active in a group called the Movement for Peace. In the early 1980s, Vanunu converted from Judaism to Christianity. Vanunu received a bachelor's degree in philosophy and geography from Ben Gurion University in 1985. He has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Tromsø. The unveiling of Israel's nuclear weapons program In 1986, Vanunu transferred photographs from the Dimona nuclear power plant to the British newspaper The Sunday Times, which later printed the images. The newspaper also promised Vanunu $ 100,000 to write a book about the case. At the same time, a female Israeli agent tricked Vanunu into going to Rome, where he was secretly kidnapped by Mossad and taken to Israel. The abduction could just as easily have been carried out in London, but the Israelis did not want problems with the British authorities, and Rome was considered a better alternative. In Jerusalem, Vanunu was tried for treason and espionage, and sentenced to 18 years in prison. During the captivity, Vanunu was held in solitary confinement for 12 years. During his long captivity, and all the time afterwards, Vanunu has refused to speak Hebrew, and communicates exclusively in English. Amnesty International described the treatment of Vanunu as "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment [...], as prohibited by international law". Israeli authorities claim that the facilities in Vanunu's prison cell were better than in average Israeli prisons. Furthermore, they point out that neither the European Convention on Human Rights nor the UN Economic and Social Council's minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners mention any prohibition on solitary confinement, despite these documents' consistently high demands on the treatment of prisoners. with the German pacifist Carl von Ossietzky. In Israel, the view of Vanunu is the opposite. Shimon Peres stated in connection with his release that "Vanunu betrayed his country and got a right

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