Trip to Israel:
A Visit with Mordechai and a BBC Interview
by Nicholas & Mary Eoloff
In January, we went to Israel not only to visit Mordechai, but to be interviewed by a BBC crew for a documentary involving Mordechai and Israel's weapons of mass destruction. The trip was filled with some anxiety and apprehension because we had not received permission in advance from prison security for a visit.
In fact, we did not hear from the prison until January 15, the day before our scheduled departure. In desperation we presented ourselves at the prison door with two members of the BBC staff and told the office guards that we were there to see Mordechai Vanunu. While waiting at the prison door for the English-speaking prison secretary, we happened to meet Michael Sellors, an Anglican priest, who had just completed his sacramental visit with Mordechai. A good-humored sort of person, Reverend Sellors said that Mordechai was in good spirits and looking forward to his release and freedom.
The prison secretary appeared and Reverend Sellors, in jest, said that she can work miracles. With that comment, the ice was broken and the secretary told us that she only obtained clearance from one of the two Israeli agencies that must approve of our visits and that she would actively seek permission from the second agency.
Clearance came late that
afternoon with a call from the secretary. Our anxieties disappeared. After
the usual searches, we proceeded down the road to the usual
meeting room, but much to our surprise, Mordechai was not waiting for
us at the red line as usual. We arrived at the room and waited while
the guard called for someone to escort Mordechai. Mordechai was
utterly surprised to see us! He knew we were coming to Israel to
visit him, but he was not told about our arrival at the prison.
After hugs and embraces, we settled down for our one-and-a-half hour
visit. He treated us to chips from the prison canteen and candies
for our grandchildren. Mordechai looked well and was in good
What message does he want the world to know? He remains strong and determined. He has put the past 17 years behind him. He believes in nonviolence. And he wants to begin a new life. Mordechai keeps himself keenly aware of current international events through newspapers and magazines sent to him. He appreciates these items and all the letters and cards that his supporters continue to send him. He is very much upbeat for the future and his release.