Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program: Italy’s Role in the Kidnapping of Whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu

Mordechai Vanunu, the Israeli whistle-blower who first exposed the military nuclear program of the Zionist government, has been jailed again on May 23rd because of his attempts to contact the foreign media. He had been released in April 2004 after having spent 18 years in prison, from September 1986.



This is the message that Mordechai Vanunu wrote in felt tip on his hand, and showed to photographers, journalists, cameramen and whoever was standing outside the vehicle of the Israeli team in charge of bringing him back to Israel with a ship that was going to sail from La Spezia.

The day after his arrival in Rome from London, with the company of “Cindy”, a Mossad agent who, in the plot, played the role of his romantic other half, Vanunu was drugged, kidnapped and arrested by the Israeli secret services that, in Italy, could rely on the wide support and collaboration of both the national government and the local secret services.

Even prior to Vanunu’s revelations in 1986 about Israel’s nuclear program, many were already wondering who had provided such technology to Israel, who had given them the uranium and where their bombs were made. The positions of their nuclear arsenals, the activities in the super-secret chemical and biological labs, the nuclear power station of “Dimona” in the Negev desert were all strictly no-no topics for both Israeli and foreign media.

It’s in Dimona station that Mordechai Vanunu worked and learned that “Israel had developed between one hundred and two hundred atomic bombs [in 1986!] and had gone on to develop neutron bombs and thermonuclear weapons. Enough to destroy the entire Middle East and nobody has done anything about it since.” Peter Hounam, 2003 for the BBC [1]

After taking the photos he needed in order to expose Israel’s nuclear weapons, Vanunu fled to Australia to meet media tycoon Robert Maxwell, unaware that the same Maxwell will have alerted the Australian secret services that called Tel Aviv straight away. The order to find “the traitor” and bring him back to Israel came directly from the top, the then prime minister Shimon Peres, father of Israeli nuclear power.

Vanunu knew he was ploughing a lonely furrow, but nevertheless he made his way to London to speak to Sunday Times reporters, willing to publish his story and photos. If Vanunu had stayed in London, the Mossad would have had troubles in arresting him (or killing him, as was the initial plan), first of all because the Sunday Times was already in possession of Vanunu’s material and they were certainly going to publish it, but also because a murder in British territory would have created an awkward situation between Israel and London.

Having decided to bring about the arrest outside the UK borders, the aptest country the Mossad could think about was Italy, due to its government’s unconditional support to whatever unlawful operations the Zionist secret services were carrying out, no matter how much of the national independence and sovereignty it had to be sacrificed. Hence the plan involving “Cindy” aimed at luring him in Rome.

The Italian support to Mossad activities and Israel’s policies, both within the national borders and in Palestine, had started in the very aftermath of World War II, when one of Mossad’s collaborators in Italy, Ada Sereni, convinced the then Italian premier Alcide De Gasperi to engage in such backing and in the promise to turn a blind eye on their activities in the country. The reasons why Italy would have benefited from this kind of collaboration, according to Ada Sereni, were mainly two: first of all the fact that a too strong Arab influence in the Middle East was to be averted, and they (the future zionist State) would have managed to contain it; secondly, the Jewish refugees she had contributed to make illegally emigrate to Palestine would have returned straight away, and Italy had no interest in having them back. [2]

The outcome of this conversation will have been a government incapable of claiming its legitimate sovereignty in its own territory, and Israel’s secret services granted with the power to execute any activity they wanted in a foreign country.

In the case of Vanunu’s kidnapping, the Mossad deemed Italy the best theater because France and Germany could have caused diplomatic crisis, and Britain didn’t want to make waves in its national territory. The Israeli secret services knew that the Italian establishment, having already allowed CIA anti-communist and anti-democratic policies, would have turned a blind eye on any unlawful acts they were going to bring about.

Due to the circulation in the media all over the world of the photo of Vanunu’s message written on his hand at the moment of his kidnapping, it was impossible to keep pretending nothing had happened. This is why Italian judge Domenico Sica opened a file on the case of the “alleged kidnapping”, and closed it almost immediately with the inconsistent excuse that Vanunu was not a traitor but actually a Mossad agent who orchestrated the whole affair in order to divert the attention from the real situation of Israel’s nuclear weapons program.

Many parliamentary questions were invoked on how Mordechai Vanunu could have been kidnapped on Italian soil, and some of the national MPs demanded a proper investigation on the responsibilities of the government that allowed the Mossad to act in absolute disrespect of national and international legislation.

On October 6th 1999, admiral Fulvio Martini, former head of the SISMI, Italian secret services, was questioned within the investigations of the Parliamentary Commission on terrorism in Italy, and admitted he had no possibility to know what the Mossad was doing in the country, nor if they had killed anybody within the national borders. [3]

At this juncture, it’s legitimate to wonder if the Italian secret services were consciously breaching the national laws helping the Mossad and covering its illegal actions, or if they were very incompetent.


Angela Corrias is an Italian freelance journalist. She regularly updates her blog Global Reporting (


[1] Fleming Eileen, Email From And More About Mordechai Vanunu, May 23rd 2010 

[2] Salerno Eric, Mossad base Italia, Le azioni, gli intrighi, le verità nascoste, il Saggiatore, Milano 2010, p. 24

[3] Salerno Eric, Mossad base Italia, Le azioni, gli intrighi, le verità nascoste, il Saggiatore, Milano 2010, p. 221

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Articles by: Angela Corrias

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