THE former prime minister Kevin Rudd has urged the federal government to respond robustly to the detention and apparent suicide of an Australian and Israeli citizen, Ben Zygier, in an Israeli prison.
Mr Rudd said he was ''deeply surprised'' when the news broke last week that the Melbourne man was the notorious ''Prisoner X''.
Mr Rudd was prime minister at the time of Mr Zygier's arrest, a time of high tension between the two countries over the alleged misuse of Australian passports by Mossad agents in Dubai.
The Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, said Israel had been asked to contribute to a report on all contact between Australia and Israel. ''We want to give them an opportunity to submit to us an explanation of how this tragic death came about,'' he said.
Israel's Deputy Prime Minister, Moshe Ya'alon, told Israeli television: ''We are not a country that acts in the dark.''