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It was not until my third visit to Jerusalem in March 2006, did I ask Vanunu about Cindy/Cheryl. In 1986 Vanunu thought she was a beautician on holiday, but Cindy/Cheryl, was a spy for the Mossad.

In 1986, Vanunu left London and flew to Rome with Cindy/Cheryl, just days prior to the London Sunday Times publishing the scientific corroboration to the sixty odd photos Vanunu had taken in the underground Dimona WMD plant that proved Israel had gone nuclear.

Legend has it that Vanunu flew to Rome from London with Cindy/Cheryl, just to have sex…

[East Jerusalem: Occupied Territory] Beginning this September, Mordechai Vanunu will be back in court fighting a six month sentence behind bars because he opened his mouth in Israel.

On July 2, 2007 , Mordecahi Vanunu learned that the Israeli law under which his speech and movement have been restricted is a relic from the British Mandate period in Palestine , before the state of Israel was founded and replaced that British rule in 1948. Nothing like it exists in any democracy in the world. When Vanunu was convicted, he joked, “Perhaps I should turn to the Queen or Tony Blair for justice.”

In March 2006, just three months after Vanunu’s historic freedom of speech trial in a Mid East democracy began, what played out in court was discussed between us in “30 Minutes with Vanunu” a video commentary by Vanunu on the irony of Israeli democracy implementing the British Mandate Regulations against him and millions of Palestinians, that led him to conclude, “Israel is only a democracy if you are a Jew.”

Jeff Halper, American Israeli, Founder and Coordinator of Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions coined the term ‘Ethnocracy’ to describe Israeli rule; full and equal rights to all Jews, but nobody else. Halper has unequivocally affirmed, “Israeli is not a democracy, it is an Ethnocracy.”

The maxim is never meet your hero’s, but I am glad I met one of mine. My only regret is that it took me two years to realize the irony and my shortsightedness in not realizing the impossibility of Vanunu trusting another woman from Florida .

From 1986 to 2004, Israel kept Vanunu in a tomb sized cell with no window, most all of it in solitary confinement. Vanunu was drugged and interrogated without legal council and convicted of treason during a closed door trial. For the first two years of incarceration, a camera and light were on constantly. If Vanunu ever did nod off to sleep, “A guard would come and shine a brighter light into my face and say, ‘Just checking if you had committed suicide yet.'”

In 2002, President Bush declared U.S. citizen, Jose Padilla an enemy combatant and he was stripped of all rights and detained at a Navy brig in South Carolina where he was held in solitary isolation for 43 months and denied access to an attorney for two years.

Forensic Psychiatrist Angela Hegarty examined Padilla last year and concluded the extreme isolation and torture had left Padilla essentially brain damaged, “What happened at the brig was essentially the destruction of a human being’s mind.”

Padilla is devoid of a personality because of the cruel and inhumane treatment he endured for three and a half years. Vanunu has endured cruel and inhumane punishment for the last twenty-one years and has a challenging personality. Vanunu is justly paranoid for Israeli Security monitors his snail mail, email and telephone calls. He is justifiably angry at the injustice of being prevented from leaving Israel , which is all he has wanted for the last three years.

Speaking to Vanunu in such a place as a post office is guaranteed to gather a swarm of spies of strange kinds, people lacking finesse who would oh, so nonchalantly saunter over to a follow up meeting I requested with Vanunu after crossing paths with him in east Jerusalem . Vanunu insisted we could only meet at the Salah Adin Post Office, next door to the police station. It was not until that meeting, did I realize that this female from Florida had become a part of the Vanunu legend, for both cameras and spies occupy the Salah Adin Post Office.

During my two years of crossing paths with Vanunu scattered amongst five trips to Israel Palestine, I have found Vanunu to be articulate, funny, detached, and distant and I have never failed to ask a question which ended the conversation between us. I crossed paths with Vanunu for the first time most recently o n the third day of my fifth journey to Israel Palestine, July 16, 2007- which is also known as the 9th day of Av, the day the Jewish Temple was destroyed. I was on my way to my hotel on Nablus Road in East Jerusalem just after attending Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions media kick off day for the first of 300 homes to be rebuilt this summer, out of the 18,000 Israel has destroyed since 1967. I was witness to the pouring of the foundation of the new home of the Hamdan clan of nine who still have the deeds to their property that were filled-out during the Ottoman Empire.

In front of me I noticed an old man, hunched over as in the proverbial image of one whose back is breaking under the weight of the world, walking very slowly and talking to himself.

It was not until I passed him by and I recognized the voice that called out to me, “Hi, remember me?”

Then I realized it was Vanunu. I had never seen Vanunu wear sunglasses and he now sports big black frames. Last November, when I saw Vanunu last, he walked as fast as I, [a former New Yorker] but his gait that day, was like any other old man’s on the hot streets of Jerusalem in July.

“This is the very spot where they stoned to death the first Christian martyr for freedom of speech,” he told me as we had crossed paths in front of St. Stephen’s Church. Saint Stephen was the first follower of Jesus to be stoned to death for speaking truth to power 2,000 years ago.

In June 2007, Vanunu emailed me to delete the “30 Minutes with Vanunu” from my website, but he never gave me his reason why. I emailed him back that I could not comply for the video is cross posted on You tube and Information Clearing House and belongs to history. He never emailed me back after that, but now that we were face to face, I asked, “Just exactly why do you want the video deleted from my site?”

 “It’s not making any money.”

“Look, I have no control over people’s generosity or lack.”

He smiled when he challenged, “If you want to keep running my video, you should pay me $1,000.00 a month.”

We both laughed because his brother Meir had the idea that all the media that caused his recent trial and six months conviction should donate at least a thousand dollars to his defense fund. I defended myself anyway, “Look, I never claimed I was a fundraiser. I am a writer and the only way I can really help you is to keep writing your story and running that video. My little 2005 and 2006 videos belong to history now, and we the people must stand up and claim our liberties and rights, or we don’t have them. It is only right that it remains on my site because: ‘Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. ‘ -Article 19 Universal Declaration of Human Rights,  which Israel agreed to uphold and was contingent upon their statehood.”  

Last November Vanunu was frequently attending political and religious meetings. Nine months ago, he was frequently eating out or having a beer with most anyone who would pick up the tab. In July 2007, Vanunu is still soft-spoken and calm, but spends most all day walking the ancient streets of East Jerusalem alone. He will still stop and speak to anyone who speaks to him, but not to any reporters. He quit hanging out at the American Colony six months ago and has moved three times in a year. He reads the newspapers in his $10.00 a night with breakfast room in a time worn building and eats dinner there alone most every night.

Through the years, Vanunu has spoken to many hundreds of internationals about his torture in prison or of being a small boy in Marrakech, uprooted and sent to the desert of Beersheba, where he wandered the streets of the Old City all alone. A solitary throughout his life, it seems as if Vanunu was being ‘groomed’ to withstand more years in solitary confinement than any other known human being in all of history ever has.

I met Vanunu for the first time, in June 2005, two months after he learned the news that the restrictions against his movement and speech were renewed for another year and he had just disbanded his American campaign.

When Vanunu met me in June 2005, he thought I was an American bimbo, and I should have been more cognizant of such an eventuality since he had been locked up for 18 years. But since I have been married nearly as long as Vanunu has been in prison, and because he failed high school English, I explained the English translation of “I am married” to mean: an end to that topic of conversation.

From the moment I met Vanunu, and being nine months older than he, I related to him as a sister and never hesitated to speak to him as I would to any of my blood brothers, or any friend. Trouble was it took me two years to see the tragic-comic irony of Vanunu crossing paths with another woman from Florida and the impossibility he would have to ever be able to trust one. Things I said to Vanunu to be a guide, an FYI, a warning; he perceived as a threat. What else could he think after crossing paths in 1986 with Cindy/Cheryl, American from Florida? It was not until my third visit to Jerusalem in March 2006, did I ask Vanunu about Cindy/Cheryl. In 1986 Vanunu thought she was a beautician on holiday, but Cindy/Cheryl, was a spy for the Mossad.

In 1986, Vanunu left London and flew to Rome with Cindy/Cheryl, just days prior to the London Sunday Times publishing the scientific corroboration to the sixty odd photos Vanunu had taken in the underground Dimona WMD plant that proved Israel had gone nuclear.

Legend has it that Vanunu flew to Rome from London with Cindy/Cheryl, just to have sex, although opportunity for that already existed in London. In March 2006, I brought up the topic and asked Vanunu, “What were you thinking?”

He immediately replied, “No, it wasn’t like that. A tabloid paper published a story with some of the photos of the Dimona I had taken. They never contacted me for my side of the story but they published my photo with a bad report; lots of lies. I knew I was in danger and I wasn’t sure if the Times would still print my story. I thought I would just leave London with her for a few days.”

When Vanunu arrived in Rome at what he thought was Cindy/Cheryl’s sister’s home, he was clubbed, drugged, bound and transported back to Israel in either a small yacht or a cargo ship. Just prior to being driven to his closed door trial, Vanunu had been inspired to write his Rome flight number and the word ‘HIJACKED” upon his palm and press it to the window of the van he was being transported in. His inspired move was immortalized by a photographer and so inflamed the Israeli government, that afterwards, when ever Vanunu was being transported to his closed door trial, windows were curtained and he was made to wear a helmet on his head.

Vanunu was naïve not to imagine he would be trapped in such a way, and from the few hours of being in his presence, I can believe he was indeed that naïve. I also laugh every time he accuses me of being, too naïve too.

 In July 2007, he was laughing when he said, “You are too naïve. You think you’re going to change anything with your website? Maybe a few hundred people a day read anything you say.”

I replied, “I know I am just one voice in the wilderness, but there are more like me all the time and all we have are words to fight with. I have a link on my site that tells me the U.S. Government and Military visit me daily, and even if Big Brother were my only readers, it is worth it to me to speak out and agitate them with the truth. It is the right thing to do.”

Every time I see Vanunu I always remind him that when I was a child, my dream was to grow up and become Brenda Starr, the ace investigative journalist of the Sunday Comics. Vanunu laughed the last time I brought it up, but when I first told him about Brenda in June 2005, he thought I was nuts for I told him I was convinced that his story would wake up American Christians about the truth in the Holy Land, and I was going to do all I could to tell them his story. Just like Brenda would.

I also told Vanunu how a little boy of Beit Jala, a suburb on the west side of the Little Town of Bethlehem, irrevocably changed my life and how he-Vanunu got caught up in my mind with that little boy of Bethlehem. George’s face adorns the banner of my homepage. His photo was taken in 2000, by photographer Debbie Hill, the morning after the Israeli army destroyed his bedroom in retaliation for a few hopeless militants who had infiltrated his once peaceful Christian village to snipe across the way into the illegal settlement/colony of Gilo.

The shrapnel that pierced the wall of George’s sanctuary read ‘Made in USA ‘ and was delivered via American made Apache helicopters.

The second I saw George’s eyes, in the photo that was first published by the Florida Catholic, my heart said “DO SOMETHING!”

What could I possibly do I wondered, but I did make a copy of the photo, put it in a frame and placed it upon the altar [a bar high table] in the upper room of my home. Dozens of times a day, I would stop and gaze into the eyes of that little boy of Bethlehem and beg God to end the insane cycle of violence in the Holy Land for the sake of all the children who live there and free me from the incessant voice that demands:


All these years later, every time I look at George’s eyes-or even think about him-the persistent voice continues the incessant refrain:


When I met George for the first time in June 2005, I vowed to him that the rest of my life will be dedicated to doing all I could to help bring about the end of the occupation of Palestine, which has now entered its 40th year.

In April 2005, two months before my first trip to Israel Palestine, I tuned the TV on and the History channel appeared. They were broadcasting a show called, “Sexpionage” all about Russian female spies and one from the Mossad.

The very clip that ran before my eyes was of Vanunu being transported to his closed door trial depicting his inspired move to write upon his palm: “HIJACKED” and the Rome flight number he had been on. It was the first time I had seen that historic clip and also of Shimon Perez in 1986 stating that Israel would never be the first in the Mid East to possess nuclear weapons.

When a black and white photo of a bearded, unkempt and disheveled Vanunu filled the TV screen, I thought his eyes looked just like George’s of Beit Jala’s, and I heard in my heart:

“Do Something!”

Vanunu’s eyes are nothing like George’s of Beit Jala. Vanunu’s eyes can be 52, 92, 16 or 6, because Vanunu is all of those ages. Vanunu may never speak to the media again, he may never write his own story. But he has said more with his life than a million words ever could about a solitary man who spoke truth in a democracy that America fully supports which denies the right of a human being the inalienable right to speak to any other and the freedom to leave a place that doesn’t feel like home.

On my last afternoon in Jerusalem in July, 2007, I crossed paths with Vanunu again very near to St. Stephens Church. But, that’s another story.

Learn More:

“30 Minutes With Vanunu” streaming @

Eileen Fleming, Memoirs of a Nice Irish American Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory, “Brother V”, pages 95-115.