Cheryl Hanin was a mossad agent who lured Vanunu out of London posing as an American tourist. She took him to Rome where the Mossad rugged him and smuggled him back to Israel to prison. Mordechai Vanunu was the man who told the world Israel had nuclear weapons and he took pictures of the warhead and exsposed it in the British media.
"JERUSLAEM - She was the only missing player in the drama that ended in the 18-year incarceration of the man who first told the world Israel had nuclear weapons.
But Cheryl Hanin, the agent who back in 1986 seduced Mordechai Vanunu in London, then lured him to Rome and into the hands of Mossad, who drugged him and smuggled him back to Israel, turns out to be alive, well, married and distinctly prosperous in Alaqua, Florida.
Yesterday Yedhiot Arhronot painted, in the brightest of colours, a portrait of the woman who persuaded Vanunu she was an American tourist called Cindy and sprang the trap for Vanunu.
Then, she was an attractive, apparently open, and, to Vanunu at least, very friendly 26-year-old. Lyrically, the paper described how 18 years on: "Cheryl, her husband and daughters live today in a private home in the middle of a green and manicured golf course. Cheryl drives in a blue town and country van, her husband drives a shiny Chevy Impala.
"In the pastoral landscape, white golf carts carrying the residents of the prestigious neighbourhood move about quietly.
"This is a dream residential compound for golf lovers, 25 minutes drive north of Orlando. Several hundred homes are spread out in the neighbourhood land, among artificial ponds and dense tropical growth."
To many Israelis, particularly in the defence and security establishment, Hanin is a heroine who did her patriotic duty by ensnaring in a honeytrap the man who betrayed the country's defence secrets.
To Vanunu's many supporters in the international anti-nuclear movement she is the Mata Hari who destroyed the life of an idealist who thought he was acting in the higher cause of world peace.
Understandably perhaps, Hanin - Yedhiot calls her by the married name of Bentov which she apparently prefers not to use - has a bad case of media shyness.
"For me this is a black story and I just want to erase it and forget it," the paper quotes her telling a friend in Israel.
She has a history of moving on when confronted by the press. When the Sunday Times, which first published Vanunu's sensational revelations of the secrets of the Dimona nuclear plant, discovered her living quietly in the northern Israeli town of Netanya in 1988, she left Israel for her native US.
Since then, Yedhiot says, she and her family have not returned to Israel, although they still maintain a home in Kochav Yair, which, in effect, is their only link to Israel.
She was "rediscovered" by the press a decade later and moved within Florida. Even her new life in Florida is not exactly a Yedhiot scoop.
Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon's Spies, the Secret History of Mossad, wrote: "She was sent on practice missions, breaking into an occupied hotel room, stealing documents from an office.
"She was roused from her bed in the dead of night and dispatched on more exercises: picking up a tourist in a nightclub, then disengaging herself outside his hotel. Every move she made was observed by her tutors."
After her training, Hanin joined the Mossad unit that worked with Israeli embassies.
Her last mission began when she engineered a meeting with Vanunu in Leicester Square and suggested a coffee, saying she was a beautician on holiday. Next day they met in the Tate Gallery and began to see more of each other.
Peter Hounam, the Sunday Times journalist who had debriefed Vanunu, warned him that she could be a Mossad agent, but Vanunu insisted: "She is just a tourist who is critical of Israel. I think you would like her."
There were plans for Vanunu to bring his new girlfriend to Hounam's house but he cancelled because he was "going out of the city". The trap, in other words, had been set.
Hanin has until recently worked as an estate agent, as does her husband, also a former Mossad agent.
Their daughters, aged 12 and 16, speak Hebrew, and according to Yedhiot, go every year to "the prestigious Scouts' camp in Atlanta, which teaches Zionism and has Israeli counsellors, to which Jewish children from all over the US come. The Bentovs are among the generous donors to the camp".
The paper suggests Hanin is apprehensive that Vanunu, who is forbidden to go abroad for at least a year, will somehow make trouble for her after his release. The paper asks whether such seemingly unlikely fears are justified and remarks that "at least according to what Mordechai told his brother recently, he has no plans to get even with her". "