JERUSALEM - Mordechai Vanunu, about to complete an 18-year jail term for spilling Israeli nuclear secrets, has called for the destruction of Israel's secretive Dimona reactor, newspapers reported on Monday.
"Just like the Iraqi reactor was destroyed, I want the
Israeli reactor destroyed," Vanunu, referring to Israel's 1981
bombing near Baghdad, was quoted as saying in a videotaped
meeting recently with security officers.
"I am defending the Arab world," he said in the interview,
according to a transcript carried by newspapers. The tape was
to be broadcast later in the day.
Vanunu, a former technician at the Dimona reactor, was
jailed in 1986 as a traitor after disclosing information to
Britain's Sunday Times newspaper which led analysts to conclude
Israel had produced as many as 200 nuclear bombs at the
Israel maintains a strategic ambiguity over its nuclear
program in an attempt to ward off its foes while avoiding a
regional arms race. It has kept the Dimona facility, in
southern Israel, closed to international inspection. Vanunu,
49, is expected to be placed under restrictions as soon as he
is released on Wednesday, the government having decided to bar
him from leaving the country, tap his phone and bar his access
to the press for a probationary period.
Release of the videotape appeared aimed at bolstering the
government's case in a court challenge Israel's civil liberties
union is mounting on Vanunu's behalf against the edicts.
Challenging Israel's right to exist, he declared: "There is
no need for a Jewish state. There should be a Palestinian
state. Whoever wants to be Jewish can live anywhere."
Vanunu said he hoped to fight the restrictions and move
overseas. He denied having anything sensitive left to divulge
and threatened to defy some restrictions using the Internet.
"I've been inside for 20 years, everything has changed.
Science has advanced...so what I saw seems very outdated to
me," Vanunu said.
Vanunu also maintained he was neither a spy nor a traitor.
"I wanted to inform the world about what happened. It's not
treason," and outside Israel "five or six billion people (see
me)...as a positive figure."
Asked why he had chosen to convert to Christianity back in
the 1980s, Vanunu replied: "I think Islam and Judaism are both
the same backward religion...Christianity is progressive."
Copyright © 2004 Reuters Limited.