The High Court of Justice on Wednesday heard a petition submitted by Mordechai
Vanunu, the man who leaked information regarding Israel’s reported nuclear
weapons program in 1986, to leave the country via the West Bank.
lawyer, the charismatic and colorful Avigdor Feldman, thundered away at the
state, saying, “This man is not allowed to leave a country that does not want
him in it and in which he does not want to be.”
He added that Vanunu
merely wanted to leave the country to marry his girlfriend and live out his life
quietly. Vanunu was formerly a technician at the Dimona nuclear plant who was
imprisoned for 18 years for divulging secrets related to Israel’s purported
nuclear weapons program.
Since his release from prison in 2004, Vanunu
has had a range of highly unusual restrictions placed on his movement and his
right to interact with other persons, particularly foreigners and the press. The
High Court has numerous times approved these restrictions, and Vanunu has
numerous times violated them, sometimes being temporarily penalized or
But Feldman claimed that after 29 years, Vanunu’s secret
information was so dated that it could no longer threaten the
Feldman also said that Vanunu could have revealed secrets in other
ways remotely, withoutneeding to speak to someone in person, but had chosen not
Regarding Vanunu’s violations in meeting with foreigners, Feldman
claimed that he had not told them anything or been accused of telling them
anything about Israel’s purported nuclear weapons program.
point was that Vanunu had never violated the substance of the restrictions
against him; the attorney also presented the meeting his client had with
foreigners as happenstance when he was out at a café.
He tried to portray
the restrictions as unnecessary and draconian.
The state, in contrast,
said that expert reports and secret information, which it presented to the court
in a closed-door portion of the hearing, proved that Vanunu’s information was
still relevant and its revelation would endanger state security.
report indicated that Vanunu was still highly motivated to divulge secrets if he
left the country and was beyond the state’s reach, said the
Vanunu’s request comes after various recent legal developments,
including a March 2011 law empowering the state to revoke certain convicts’
citizenship, and his desire to use the law as a way to get the state to revoke
his citizenship and expel him from the country after repeated past requests were
A decision is not expected soon.