Dulwich Hill’s fighting Father promised to stand by an Israeli friend with a troubling secret. Eighteen years on he’s keeping his word.
Report NICOLE AZZOPARDI
Reverend Dave Smith will revisit his past when he embarks on a trip to Israel next month to see an old Friend freed from jail.
Morde Vanunu was imprisoned in an Israeli jail 18 years ago alter he alerted the world to a nuclear weapons program being conducted in a manufacturing facility in Israeli’s Dimona Desert in 1986.
Mr Vanunu had worked in a the plutonuim separation plant helping to fabricate atomic weapons. Before he was sacked he took photographs of the machinery.
After the photographs were published in Britain’s Sunday Times, with revelations about the plant. Mr Vanunu was kidnapped and tried by the Israeli Government for treason, espionage and betrayal of state secrets.
He was jailed at Ashkelon Prison in Israel, spending the first 11 years of his sentence in solitary confinement.
A year before he was captured — after he was fired from the plant — Mr Vanunu left Israel to go travelling. He wound up in Sydney.
Morde first came to church at Kings Cross in 1986,” Mr Smith said. “I was working as a trainee priest and we got to know each other.
“He had a series of undeveloped photos of what he had seen while working at the plant in the Dimona Desert and was struggling with his conscience as to whether he should report what he knew.”
Mr Smith said Mr Vanunu decided to be baptised a Christian and the two became friends.
A year later, after talking to the Sunday Times Mr Vanunu was lured to Rome and captured.
Mr Smith has written to Mr Vanunu every month since his imprisonment.
“I made a promise to a friend that I would be there when he came out of prison.” Mr Smith said.
I have no desire to be in Israel, especially at this time, but I made a promise and I have no intention of breaking it.”
Mr Vanunu’s arrest attracted worldwide attention. Israel cut ties with the BBC because of its coverage of the case, which was critical of Israel.
Mr Smith will leave Sydney early next month to join an international peace delegation to meet Mr Vanunu on his release on April 21.
“It is only realistic to assume that Morde could be something of a lightning rod for some of the rage that is circulating in his own society and this is hardly a tine be attracting animosity in that part of the world.
“It is all in God’s hands, but please pray for Morde for myself and for all the of the peace delegation who will be there to meet him.”