Worldwide Vigils for Vanunu - Jerusalem

Here is the account about the Israeli vigil.

by Gideon Spiro

On Tuesday, Sept. 25, the "Israeli Committee for Vanunu and for a Mid-East free of Atomic, Chemical, and Biological weapons" kept a vigil in front of the President's Residence in Jerusalem demanding that President Katzav [who recently reduced the sentence of Margalit Har-Shefi, Rabin's assasin girl-friend, who failed to notify the police about her boy friend's intent to assasinate Rabin] release Israel's nuke resister, prisoner of conscience Mordechai Vanunu, from jail where he already spent 15 years.

The vigil was part of an international campaign of vigils in front of Israeli embassies all over the world demanding the release of Vanunu. The vigils spanned 24 hours, and took place in Australia, India, Europe, Israel, USA, and other countries.

The Jerusalem vigil, numbering some 20 people, including Palestinian member of Knesset Issam Makhul, handed the President a petition, signed by 12 Rabbis of all 3 tendencies [Orthodox, Reform, Conservative] by physicist Daniel Rohrlich, who participated in the vigil.

Vanunu, who worked in the Dimona nuclear plant, informed the Sunday Times in 1986 about nuke production in Israel.

He believes that mass-destruction weapons are a disaster and citizens must know about them. Scientists concluded from his information that already in 1986 Israel had a nuclear arsenal of more that 100 A - and H - Bombs, while Israel declared it will "Not be the first to introduce nukes into the Middle East."

Vanunu was hijacked from Italy in an Israeli terror operation in Sept. 1986 and tried secretly in a court whose verdict was a foregone conclusion. He was charged with "Treason and Espionage" and sentenced to 18 years in jail, of which he spent 11 in solitary confinement. "Amnesty International" declared the terms of his imprisonment as "Degrading, cruel, and inhuman" and demanded his release.

While Israel's attitude to Vanunu is marked by revenge and hatred, his courageous readiness to risk his freedom in order to eliminate nuclear weapons from planet earth receive acclaim all over the world.

Vanunu, who received a number of Peace prizes, including the "Right Livelihood award" (a.k.a. the "Alternative Nobel Prize") will be included in this years list of candidates for the Nobel Peace prize 2001.

The Israeli institutionalized Press, both printed and electronic, failed to report the Jerusalem vigil.

(For the text of the petition to President Katsav, click here.)