Shamir: Government Has Reasons for Silence on the Vanunu Affair

Premier Yitzhak Shamir said Tuesday that the government has reasons for remaining silent on the Vanunu affair. It would comment “when it sees fit,” he told reporters.

Shamir was referring to Mordechai Vanunu, the missing former technician at the Dimona nuclear facility allegedly imprisoned in Israel. Police Minister Haim Barlev said Monday that Vanunu was not in any prison run by the police or the Prisons Authority.

He did not mention and therefore did not exclude detention facilities maintained by the special security services, reporters noted. The comments by Shamir and Barlev were the first passed by the censors on the Vanunu affair. Until now, the Israeli media was forced to rely on foreign press coverage.

Vanunu, who is a convert to Christianity, was reported missing in London on October 1 and it was charged in some quarters that he was kidnapped by Israeli agents. He broke into the news in September after giving the Sunday Times of London a story that Israel has a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons.

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