Nobel prize-winning German author Gunter Grass has given Israel another tongue lashing. His new poem "A Hero in Our Time" praises Mordechai Vanunu, the man who blew the whistle on Israel’s nuclear program to a British newspaper.
In a newly released book of 87 poems, entitled Eintagsfliegen, Grass describes the former worker at the Dimona nuclear facility as a “hero” and a “model”, admiring his decision to pass Israeli nuke secrets to the UK’s Sunday Times in 1986.
Grass writes about Vanunu’s upbringing in Beersheba as the son of a rabbi, who “pursued the study of the Torah’s rules and then decided to convert to Christianity.” He depicts his “hero” as being in the same predicament as the biblical Joseph and how his brothers tossed him into a cistern, The Jerusalem Post reported.
An Israeli court convicted the whistle-blower of espionage and sentenced him to 18 years in jail.
Restrictions were placed on Vanunu after he was released from prison in 2004. He was banned from traveling and denied contact with foreigners without prior permission. However, he has since been reportedly penalised more than 20 times for breaking the rules.
Grass, meanwhile, has been barred from entering Israel because of his anti-Israel writings and his former membership in the Nazi Waffen SS.
Earlier this year, the 84-year-old German writer provoked a wave of outrage in Israel after publishing the poem entitled "What Must Be Said" in which he expressed fears that a nuclear-armed Israel "could wipe out the Iranian people" with a "first strike," blaming the Jewish state of endangering world peace.