- Ashkelon is a peaceful small town to the south of Tel
Aviv and to the north of Gaza, rebuilt after 1948 on the ruins of the old
Palestinian town. White houses and white sand give it its clean look. Its
high-security jail is also painted white, though it is far from idyllic
place. Today the Mossad-operated jail returned Ashkelon into news for the
first time since Richard Coeur-de-Lion took it from Saladin.
- For 18 long years until today Mordechai Vanunu was buried
alive in its super-secret Agaf Seven, ever since he was kidnapped in Europe
by Mossad spies and illegally brought to be tried and imprisoned here.
Vanunu committed a double crime for he defied the Jewish state by
the secret of its evil nuclear might and by embracing Christ. For this
he was kept in solitary confinement; hour upon hour, day upon day, year
after year under lidless eyes of Mossad watchers. This would be enough
to break spirit of an ordinary man, to drive him into release of insanity,
as his tormentors wished. But they failed for he was not an ordinary
- Born into a working-class Sephardic Jewish family in
arid Negev, Vanunu witnessed persecution of the native Palestinians, and
he felt compassion for them. This brotherly compassion for goyim, frowned
upon in the Jewish tradition, brought him to Christ. He could not continue
working at Dimona, the place where Israel makes weapons of mass
He openly broke with Jewish omerta, denounced evil, and made his fellow
citizens and the world aware of huge nuclear arsenal accumulated in the
underground storages to threaten world peace.
- A Christian has some qualities of Christ, and the witness
of Vanunu made him a Christian martyr. Jews are not a forgiving lot, and
they are not likely to forgive a man who broke free. In order to make this
religious meaning of his trial clear to all, the judges sentenced Vanunu
to 18 years, 'to be immured alive', for '18' means 'alive' in Hebrew. Many
Jews wear the sign of 18, or 'Chai' on their necks, where Christians wear
the cross. 'Do you know what this sign means?' - Daniel McGowan of Deir
Yassin Remembered was asked by a policeman, and replied: 'it is the
you gave Vanunu'.
- But 18 years passed, and today Vanunu came back to life.
It was a moment of supreme elation reminiscent of Resurrection Sunday,
when the white doves flew over the white prison, and crowds chanted in
front of the gate of heavy iron bars guarding the entrance to Ashkelon
jail. He approached the gate, grasped its bars as if wishing to break free,
pulled his strong body up and looked at us, at his friends who came to
see him coming out alive, and at his enemies who called for his blood.
There was no Hollywood smile of a released prisoner. Not a timid lamb
but Son of Man who saw death and came back. His face was stern and grim
in the blue frame of the iron bars, like that of Christ breaking the Gates
of Hell on an old icon.
- He turned to the TV crews and spoke to them, at first
in his heavily accented Sephardic Hebrew, then in English:
- "I want to tell you something very important. I
suffered here 18 years because I am a Christian, because I was baptised
into Christianity. If I was a Jew I wouldn't have all this suffering here
in isolation for 18 years. Only because I was a Christian: Vanunu Mordechai
says we don't need a Jewish state. Vanunu Mordechai doesn't want to live
in Israel and doesn't need a Jewish state. I am a symbol of the will of
freedom. You cannot break the human spirit."
- 'Kill him!' - yelled the Jewish crowd, braying for blood,
like in Mel Gibson 's film. They raised their signs declaring 'Kill the
traitor'. But the prey escaped them: in a minute, his car took him into
the safe sanctuary of St George cathedral, the Anglican Neo-Gothic building
in East Jerusalem, where kind Bishop Riah expected him.
- Thus Vanunu confirmed in his own words and deeds: Christ
is the symbol of compassion to our fellow men and thus of rebellion against
the Jewish rule, the symbol of unvanquished human spirit that is akin to
God. Probably the bravest man alive, he reminded me that 'God became Man
so a Man can become God' (in words of St Athanasius). I thought of my
Gilad Atzmon in London and of other good people who rebelled against the
archaic spirit of dominance; of endless arguments whether Christ is
for our struggle in Palestine, arguments Vanunu answered so
- In 1986, when Vanunu was arrested, I wrote in the
newspaper Al Hamishmar, 'Vanunu was my spy, for he spied for me the dark
secrets of the Zionist establishment'. But he returned with an even more
important message, that of the spirit. Years ago, he revealed to us the
weapons of our enemies; now he revealed our secret weapon in the battle
for Palestine, that of Christ. And this battle goes on: while white doves
flew over the prison, the Jewish tanks bombarded towns of Gaza, a few miles
away, killing innocent civilians.
- He also revealed the complicity of the American and
pseudo-Christians in the plot. Vanunu told us he was trapped not by Mossad
but by a CIA agent, for his revelations were mightily embarrassing to the
US, the country that forces the world to disarm while turning a blind eye
to the Dimona nuclear facility. Even now the US authorities promised 'to
keep an eye on Vanunu' so he won't embarrass them even more. Italy's
this great friend of Sharon and Bush, did not move a finger to save the
man kidnapped on Italian soil. This question should be discussed in the
election campaign in the US: it is not too late for Americans to reject
the accomplices of the Zionist warmongers.
- Yes, Vanunu is right: "The time has come to end
this silence and secret cooperation by the West, the United States, Canada
and all Europe helping Israel and co-operating with Israel's
- It is not too late for us, the Israelis, to listen to
this man and to agree with him: we do not need a Jewish state; we need
a state of compassion.
- Israel Shamir's books Flowers of Galilee and Our Lady
of Sorrow are available on his site www.israelshamir.net
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