TEL AVIV (Nov. 3)
Israeli officials continued to maintain complete silence on Mordechai Vanunu, the missing former technician at the Dimona nuclear facility. But his father, Shlomo Vanunu of Beersheba, was less reticent. He publicly disowned his son Monday.
“I’ll have nothing to do with him. I don’t recognize him as my son. Thank God I have seven other children,” the elder Vanunu told reporters. His bitterness toward his son apparently stems from the latter’s conversion to Christianity and the fact that he told British newspapers earlier this year that Israel has a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons.
Vanunu was reported missing in London on October 1. According to The Rev. John McKnight, the Australian Anglican clergyman who converted him, he was kidnapped by Israeli agents and is presently confined to prison in Israel. Israeli officials have not confirmed or denied the allegation. But his father, who is described in the gation. But his father, who is described in the press variously as a rabbi, a salesman and a vender of religious articles, said if his son is in jail he hopes he will receive a long sentence. The Vanunu family immigrated to Israel from Morocco in 1963.
People who knew the nuclear technician when he was a student of geology and philosophy at Ben Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba have few flattering things to say about him. Some describe him as a “colorless personality.” They say his only friends were Arabs and that he devoted much of his time to Communist and Palestinian causes.