In 2005 this American was in the midst of writing my first historical fiction when a serendipiitous encounter with Mordechai Vanunu led to a series of interviews and the realization of my childhood dream of being a reporter after Vanunu tells me:
"President Kennedy tried to stop Israel from building atomic weapons. In 1963, he forced Prime Minister Ben Guirion to admit the Dimona was not a textile plant, as the sign outside proclaimed, but a nuclear plant. The Prime Minister said, ‘The nuclear reactor is only for peace.’ Kennedy insisted on an open internal inspection. He wrote letters demanding that Ben Guirion open up the Dimona for inspection.
"When Johnson became president, he made an agreement with Israel that two senators would come every year to inspect. Before the senators would visit, the Israelis would build a wall to block the underground elevators and stairways. From 1963 to ’69, the senators came, but they never knew about the wall that hid the rest of the Dimona from them.
"Nixon stopped the inspections and agreed to ignore the situation. As a result, Israel increased production. In 1986, there were over two hundred bombs. Today, they may have enough plutonium for ten bombs a year."
A few weeks after Vanunu's freedom of speech trial began in 2006 because he spoke to foreigners such as American reporter Amy Goodman [of DemocracyNow!] whose 2004 interview with Vanunu was major testimony against him in that case which concluded with 78 days back in solitary in 2010.
Please view "30 Minutes with Vanunu" that did NOT go through Israeli Censors as is required of media who want to retain Press Credentials.
In 2015 the then 60 yr. old Vanunu wed for the first time to a Norwegian Professor and Vanunu has been accepted for asylum BUT Israel must first let him leave the state.
However on 11 July 2017, Israel again condemned Vanunu to two more months in prison “if he commits another similar violation [speaking to foreigners!] in the next three years. He was also sentenced to 120 hours of community service” The Jerusalem Post reported.