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Anglicans suggest Vanunu move to Nazareth

By Yossi Melman
Haaretz April 25

St. George's church in East Jerusalem, where nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu is staying, has suggested he move to a larger Anglican church in Nazareth.

Apparently, the media and security ruckus around the released prisoner is causing discomfort to church officials and members of the community in East Jerusalem.

A decision about his move may well be made tomorrow with the return of Anglican Bishop Abu Al Assal from a visit to Jordan and Lebanon.

Today Vanunu is expected to take part in Sunday mass at St. George Church in East Jerusalem, at whose guest house he is now staying.

Since his arrival last Wednesday, Vanunu has stayed indoors and spent his time reading, writing and meeting his supporters. His brother Meir is with him all the time.

Outside the church the police and chief security officer of the Defense Ministry, Yehiel Horev, check everyone who enters its gates. This, too, adds to the church people's unease.

Everyone who wants to meet Vanunu must present a request in advance, via the family, to the Defense Ministry's security chief. Most of the requests have been approved, except for two. British journalist Peter Hounam, the journalist who wrote Vanunu's story in 1986 for the Sunday Times and triggered the whole affair, is making a film for the BBC about it. Hounam asked to meet Vanunu last Thursday, but was refused. His wife, Hilarie Burnett, was also not permitted to see Vanunu yesterday. Burnett has already met Vanunu twice since his release, but apparently when Horev discovered she was Hounam's wife, he decided to reject her request.

"Horev is continuing his vendetta against Vanunu, which has been going on for seventeen and a half years," Hounam commented. "These attempts to harass Vanunu damage Israel's image as a state that prides itself for its democratic values."

Hounam added that he had asked to see "Mordi," as he calls Vanunu, as a friend, after they had corresponded with each other throughout Vanunu's prison sentence.

So far Vanunu has not given an interview to any news medium, despite requests from numerous Israeli and foreign journalists and television networks.


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