In January 2008, he was sentenced to six months community service.
Daniel Ellsberg called him "the preeminent hero of the nuclear era." In July 2007, Amnesty International (AI) named him "a prisoner of conscience."
Vanunu says "I am neither a traitor nor a spy. I only wanted the world to know what was happening." They had every right to know and still do.
On December 28, 2009, he was again arrested following an alleged meeting with his girlfriend, a Norwegian national. House arrest followed.
Years after his initial imprisonment, he's still effectively in one. In May 2010, he began serving another three-month prison term, reportedly in isolation. He's vulnerable to rearrest anytime for any reason or none at all. That's how police states operate. Israel's one of the worst. So is America. Both threaten humanity.
Israel is one of three known nuclear outlaws. Besides India and Pakistan, it never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) nor allows inspections. North Korea is a declared but unverified nuclear power.
Since the 1970s, Israel's official position is that it chose "an option to produce electricity using nuclear reactors. (This) requires promoting nuclear knowledge and research, preparing sites suitable for building nuclear power plants," and weighing the economic benefits.
Independent experts know Dimona has no civilian nuclear program. Technology development is entirely weapons-related. They include boosted fission ones and small neutron bombs. They're designed to maximize gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long-term radiation. They're designed to kill while leaving structures intact.
Israel also has long range ballistic missiles; sophisticated aircraft, surface ships, and submarines able to launch nuclear strikes; cruise missiles, artillery shells, and land mines with the same capability; greater ability than needed for defensive deterrence; and propensity to strike first rather than first assess whether or not serious threats exist.
Israel faces none. In contrast, it imperils the region and beyond.
"What Must Be Said" explains the risks. Grass courageously did what few others dare. He did it his way. His poem won't be remembered for its style or grace. It will for his important message.
He discussed an open secret. He kicked open a hornet's nest doing it. Unjustifiable invectives assail him. That's the price paid for explaining important truths. He won't back off. Neither should we. The issue's on the table. Discussing and spreading it's essential.
Grass can handle criticism. He knew the risks and took them. He's assailed now from all sides. Netanyahu, an unindicted war criminal, attacked him, saying:
"His declarations are ignorant and shameful and every honest person in this world must condemn them." His motives are anti-Semitic, he claimed.
"For six decades he hid his past as a member in the Waffen SS, so it is no surprise that he defines the only Jewish state as the greatest threat to world peace and opposes it equipping itself with means of self defense."