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Vanunu flees to church as new home revealed

By Ed O'Loughlin, Correspondent in Jerusalem
Sydney
Morning Herald
April 23, 2004

The Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has taken sanctuary in Jerusalem's Anglican cathedral after his release from prison on Wednesday.
Mr Vanunu, 49, had been expected to take up residence in a Jaffa apartment after the Israeli Government's decision to block his wish to seek asylum abroad following the expiry of his 18-year sentence.

But when details of his address were leaked to Israeli media outlets and websites, the former orthodox Jew chose instead to spend his first days of freedom in the care of the church that he joined in Australia in 1986.

Supporters of Mr Vanunu have complained of an alleged campaign of vilification by the Israeli Government and media which, they say, endangers the life of the man who most Israelis regard as a traitor.

His younger brother, Meir, said that for the time being Mr Vanunu preferred to stay in the more secure and supportive keeping of the church. His plans would be "played by ear".

On Wednesday night the Anglican compound in East Jerusalem hosted an impromptu celebration at which Mr Vanunu was able to gather with friends, family and supporters who had campaigned on his behalf during his long imprisonment for telling a British newspaper about Israel's covert nuclear weapons capability. The first 12 years of his sentence were spent in solitary confinement.


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