Lights in the Distance

Observations and musings regarding new mommyhood and life in general.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

I Hear that Andromeda Hill is a Lovely Place to Live...

So, after 18 years in prison, Mordechai Vanunu has been released. The events surrounding Israel's most famous prisoner border on the absurd. Let's look at the acts, shall we? Our fellow went to work at the nuclear power plant in Dimona, signing agreements promising not to play show and tell with regard to his new day job. Apparently, following a bit of conscience wrestling, the gentleman in question decided that he simply could not live up to his end of the agreement, and spilled some very impressive beans to a foreign newspaper, sharing Israel's naughty little secrets with the world.

Understandably, the powers that be felt anger with the traitor in their midst, and rightly so, I'd like to add. As I imagine most democratic nations would do in the same circumstances, they retrieved the rebel of the month from his travels in Europe, tried and convicted him.

During the course of his jail time, Mr Vanunu did not shown any regret for possibly compromising state security, and the decision to keep him disconnected from the outside world certainly seems justified. Israel-bashers everywhere have turned our friend Mordechai into a cause celebre, even going so far as to nominate him for a Nobel Peace Prize (which would have placed him in such esteemed company as that great fighter for peace, Yasser Arafat, but we'll leave him for another blog entry...). At some point during the incarceration, our chap converted to Christianity. By no means a crime, and certainly not disturbing in and of itself. People convert to different religions all the time, including a number of my friends. I've also got no problem with other religions, as my non-Jewish friends will tell you, having spent many a happy Christmas season back in the US helping my best friend and her family decorate their Christmas tree, and even going to Midnight Mass one year just to see what it was like (a very pleasant experience, though I politely declined the opportunity to "drink the wine and chew the wafer", as Tom Lehrer suggested in "The Vatican Rag"). But, back to our story at hand. Mordechai claims that he was persecuted in prison by the staff because of his religion. Nice sob story, but frankly, I'd be more inclined to believe that they just weren't too keen on our little traitor friend.

Fast forward 18 years, and Mordechai Vanunu is now a "free" man. Okay, maybe he's no longer in prison, but given all of the restrictions that have been placed on him (and rightly so), "free" is a term I use somewhat loosely. In the snippets of his post-release press conference that I've seen, our friend confides in us, sharing his dreams for the future (in English, as protest to the fact that he is not allowed access to foreigners). All poor Mordechai wants to do now is go to America, find a wife, and maybe teach and learn a little history. Of course, if he's ever allowed to leave Israel, I can't help but wonder what will become of his lovely new home in Jaffa's exclusive Andromeda Hill complex, allegedly obtained for him by those unbiased straight-shooters over at the BBC...


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