Former head of Israel’s Atomic Energy Commission says the Israeli nuclear whistleblower has served the regime because his revelations helped Tel Aviv intimidate others.
Yet Uzi Eilam, a retired army brigadier-general who ran the commission between 1976 and 1986, says the whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu did a service by alerting foes to the country’s military might.
Vanunu was sentenced to 18 years as a traitor in a secret trial in 1986. He was abducted at that time from Italy after revealing information about an illegal nuclear program at Israel’s Dimona reactor to Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper.
Vanunu’s information proved that Israel had broken the 1968 treaty on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation.
There is a US law that prohibits the support of countries that break the treaty in question.
Eilam said Vanunu’s interview with the British paper, which led foreign experts to conclude that Israel had produced fissile material for as many as 200 atomic warheads, had helped Israel’s strategic standing by unveiling its military might.
He was released in 2004, but confined to Israel since then even though he was merely a technical assistant with limited and outdated information. Israeli military officials; however, worry that he may reveal more secrets about Israel’s nuclear weapons.
To date, he is still not permitted to speak to non-Israeli’s.
"I’ve always believed he should be let go," Eilam, told Reuters on Sunday.
"I don’t think he has significant knowledge to reveal (about Dimona) now," he added.
"It served to bolster our deterrence," he concluded.
Vanunu has been nominated several times for the Nobel Peace Prize including this years’ award. He has reportedly asked that his name be removed from the list that holds the name of Shimon Peres as the man, according to Vanunu, is behind Israeli atomic policy.