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Gunter Grass Praises Whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu

German author Gunter Grass publishes another work critical of Israel, hails whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu as "hero".
By Elad Benari, Canada
First Publish: 9/30/2012, 9:34 PM

Gunter Grass
Gunter Grass
AFP/DPA/File

Nobel prize-winning German author Gunter Grass has published another work critical of Israel, AFP reports.

In one of a collection of 87 new pieces, Grass hails whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, who served 18 years in jail for leaking Israeli nuclear secrets to a British newspaper, in a poem entitled "A Hero in Our Time".

He describes former nuclear technician Vanunu as a "hero" and a "role model", according to extracts published by the German news agency DPA.

84-year-old Grass sparked outrage in April, after he published a poem in which he said he feared a nuclear-armed Israel “could wipe out the Iranian people” with a “first strike”. He also charged Israel with being the greatest threat to world peace.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later blasted Grass and said, “Gunter Grass's shameful moral equivalence between Israel and Iran, a regime that denies the Holocaust and threatens to annihilate Israel, says little about Israel and much about Mr. Grass.”

Grass subsequently claimed that his critics were holding a “campaign” against him. He said that the media had piled on him without understanding his message andadded that although he found the personal accusations against him “hurtful”, he had no plans to back down.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai subsequently banned Grass from entering Israel, declaring him “persona non grata” in the Jewish State and saying his poems were an attempt to “fan the flames of hatred against the state, and against Israel.”

Yishai’s actions caused Grass to criticize Israel yet again and compare the decision to ban him from entering the country to actions taken by the former communist East Germany and Myanmar.

Vanunu served 18 years behind bars for disclosing the inner workings of the Dimona plant in the Negev to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper in 1986.

He was released in 2004 but banned from travel or contact with foreigners without prior permission. He has since been sanctioned more than 20 times for breaking the rules.

Last year, Vanunu demanded that Minister of Interior Eli Yishai strip him of his Israeli citizenship under a new law to strip citizenship from convicted traitors.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Sukkot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)