From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Anglican Bishop of Jerusalem on Vanunu Arrest at Cathedral

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Thu, 11 Nov 2004 12:26:52 -0800

ACNS 3910     |     JERUSALEM	  |	11 NOVEMBER 2004

Letter from the Bishop in Jerusalem on the arrest of Mordechai Vanunu
from St George's Cathedral Close this morning

The Episcopal Church in Jerusalem & The Middle East
The Diocese of Jerusalem

The Rt Revd Riah H Abu El-Assal

11 November 2004

The Most Revd Rowan Williams
Archbishop of Canterbury
The Most Revd Frank Tracy Griswold
Presiding Bishop of ECUSA
The Most Revd Andrew Hutchinson
Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada
The Most Revd Peter Carnley
Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia
The Australian Board of Mission
The Revd Canon John L. Peterson
Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council
The Revd Samuel Kobia
General Secretary of the World Council of Churches
Mr Jeries Saleh
Middle East Council of Churches
The Heads of Churches in Jerusalem

It is with tremendous grief and sadness that I inform you that the
Israeli special police force entered St George's Cathedral Close today
without permission and took Mordechai Vanunu into custody. Approximately
thirty officers, many with guns, entered the cathedral gardens and
interrupted breakfast in the Pilgrim Guest House. It was a traumatic
event that terrorized many of our tourists, pilgrims, and staff. In the
100 years of the cathedral's history, such an event has never taken

Immediately I related how they have come into a sacred place, and that
their guns were not welcome. The officers with guns withdrew to outside
of the Cathedral Close; however, it came to my attention later, that at
least one of the officers still carried a concealed weapon. This was
after I had been reassured that all weapons had been removed from the
church grounds. It is inconceivable why such force is mandated for
procedures like today's.

Mordechai was calm during the search, questioning the need for the
interrogation, and they searched his room in his and my presence. They
took his papers, laptop, and other possessions into custody. I called
his lawyer, and he will meet Mordechai in Petah Tiqva.

This type of entry into a sacred space must not be tolerated by the
churches throughout the world, and it must not be accepted by those who
respect the rights and dignity of every person. We ask the government of
Israel to stop such actions as these, and we call for the respect of
sacred places in the Land of the Holy One. It is with extreme sadness
and disappointment that I must write this letter, and please continue to
pray for us in these difficult times.

Peace of God to all of you,

The Rt Revd Riah Abu El-Assal
Bishop in Jerusalem


His Excellency, President Moshe Katsav
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Anglican Communion News Service
Episcopal News Service

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