Sent: Wednesday, 21 April 2004 1:31 AM
Subject: Father Dave's update from Israel

Only 10 hours to go until the release of my friend
Mordechai Vanunu.

Well, I suppose by the time that you receive this it
will be closer still to the moment of release, or even
past it, but as I write it is 1am, and I'm in an
all-night Internet Cafe on the outskirts of Tel Aviv.

The release is scheduled for 11am today. Between now and then I've got to finish up here, get back to
my hostel in Old Jaffa (about 5 kms away), do an
interview with ABC radio at 5am (bugger the time
difference) and rise at 6am to be at Ashkelon Prison
by 8. Still, I wasn't expecting to sleep much tonight anyway.

I spent most of today standing outside Ashkelon
prison. It was amazing. The time seemed to fly by.
I had barely anything to eat and yet didn't feel
hungry. I spent almost all day standing there holding
a placard, yet didn't tire. Nothing magical about it
I suppose. I've been imagining this day for 18 years
now and I really can't believe that it's all about
to happen. It's very surreal.

Of course, when Morde walks freee tomorrow, he will not really be walking 'free'. The restrictions are all
still in place - no passport, no venturing near a
border or foriegn embassy and, worst of all from my
point of view, no contact with foreigners. This
restriction seems to be targeted at foreign media
though, so it may not prevent me making contact with
him again. I am full of hope.

Our greater concern at the moment though is for
Morde's safety. Our fears have been intensified by a
recent media blitz here aimed at vilifying Morde.

Yesterday Morde's picture was on the front 2 pages of
the major daily newspaper, accompanied by various
quotes, saying that Morde was 'opposed to the state
of Israel' and that he believed that 'the suicide
bombers might have a point'. These comments, if they
were ever made, have surely been taken out of context, and we've heard that Morde himself has been greatly distressed to hear that he has been quoted in this way. Equally concerning is the fact that Israeli TV
has actually been filming the location where Morde
will be living. They have also shown pictures of the
resteraunt where we are all supposed to be meeting
together for dinner tonight.

This is a great concern. On the one hand the media
seems to be stirring up hostility against Morde on the
eve of his release, and on the other hand they are
offering Morde's opponents clear details on exactly
how to get at him. We may be able to make last minute changes as to the place of the celebratory meal, but shifting his proposed place of abode may be more
difficult (taking into account all the restrictions).

On a brighter note, I met with one of the 'movers and
shakers' here in Tel Aviv tonight who has suggested
various strategies we might use to get Morde out of
the country in the next six to eight months - possibly
relocating him to Australia or New Zealand. There's
plenty of work ahead of us. Even so, we must move one step at a time, and the first hurdle is to see that
Morde emerges safely from the prison in 10, well ...
9 and a half ... hours time .

I will contact you again soon to let you know how
today turns out.

Keep up your prayers. Prayer is the only weapon we
have here at the moment.

And thank you again for your support.

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