Convicted nuclear spy Mordechai Vanunu petitioned the High Court of Justice on Thursday with a request that Interior Minister Eli Yishai immediately revoke his Israeli citizenship.

Vanunu, 56, was released from prison in 2004 after serving an 18-year-sentence for revealing secrets about Israel’s nuclear program to London’s Sunday Times.

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He filed a similar petition to the High Court asking for his citizenship to be revoked in 1998, while still in prison. The Interior Minister denied Vanunu’s request on the grounds that he did not have another citizenship.

However, the Citizenship Revocation Law passed in March enables courts to revoke the citizenship of those convicted of crimes against the state, including treason.

Vanunu’s attorney, Avigdor Feldman, said in the High Court petition that Vanunu should therefore now be permitted to renounce his citizenship.

In the petition, Feldman said Vanunu is not able to “find his place in Israeli society” because he is hounded by the media and by the public, who still refer to him as the “nuclear spy” although he has served his prison sentence.

Vanunu’s High Court petition follows a letter he wrote to Yishai in May, in which he told the interior minister he no longer wanted to live in Israel.

“I request that you set me free of Israel, since Israel does not want me nor do I want Israel,” Vanunu wrote in his letter to Yishai.


A convert to Christianity, the former Dimona nuclear plant worker has voiced his desire to leave Israel several times.

However, the government has always denied Vanunu’s requests to leave the country, on the grounds that he might reveal additional state secrets.

Vanunu’s petition must be answered within 30 days, High Court justices ruled on Thursday.

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