The Dimona facility in occupied Palestine is the main centre
for Israel´s nuclear research and production of nuclear arms.
During the years a number of photographs from satellites
above have appeared that reveal the facilities real intentions.
This is an image of the Dimona facility taken by a
U.S. Corona spy satellite in 1971 (Mission 1115-2, 29
September 1971, Frame: 52, 53). It is physically impossible
to take a similar image within the atmosphere as Israel
jealously protects the airspace above Dimona. In the
1960s an Israeli Airforce Mirage was shot down when
it accidentally ventured too close to Dimona.
A closeup of the same Corona frames.
Side-by-side comparison of a Corona image and the much
lower resolution SPOT commercial imaging satellite.
The SPOT image lables the Dimona nuclear reactor dome
and Machon 2 which houses the plutonium separation plant.
Satellite images courtesy John Pike
at the Federation of American Scientists, see the FAS Intelligence
Resource Program page. The SPOT Image was acquired
and exploited by Peter Zimmerman.
New Photos Reveal
Israeli Nuclear Capacity
New photographs of Israel's Dimona nuclear reactor
published by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in
2000 have confirmed that Israel has the capacity to produce
100-200 nuclear warheads.
The Dimona reactor
The high-resolution photos, taken on 4 July 2000, by the Space Imaging Corporation's
IKONOS satellite on behalf of the Federation of American Scientists
(FAS), are shown on the Web site of the FAS, and provides
important clues as to the amount of plutonium and enriched
ranium the Dimona reactor can produce, which in turn can be
used to estimate the possible size of Israel's nuclear arsenal.
The FAS site exhibits more than seven overview images of
the Dimona complex and the surrounding locations, one of which
is believed to be the burial ground of low-level radioactive
"Based on plausible upper and lower bounds of the operating
practices at the reactor, Israel could have produced enough
plutonium for at least 100 nuclear weapons, but probably not
significantly more than 200 weapons," said the FAS report.
"This again confirms Israel's possession of nuclear weapons," Fawzi Hammad, former head of the Egyptian Atomic Energy
Authority, told the Egyptian Al-Ahram Weekly (Issue
No. 497, 31 August - 6 September 2000). "The most significant
finding is that the data confirms that Israel has 200 nuclear
warheads, proving that Dimona has a big inventory, even bigger
than what some of the big powers may possess," Hammad said.
Apart from commentaries in the Arab and Moslem world the
new revelations passed silently in the press of the West.
A satellite photo
of Dimona. Red squares indicate the development of the
nuclear reactor over the past 30 years.
The new IKONOS images were compared to other pictures of
the nuclear complex taken by the above mentioned U.S. reconnaissance
satellite in 1971. The latest images show that modest changes
have taken place in the central part of the complex over the
past 30 years, but dozens of smaller buildings were built
during the same period.
The satellite photos also indicate a large area of excavation,
which the FAS said may hide an extensive underground reprocessing
The photos also reveal a nearby complex which had been built
within the last fifteen years, possibly for defence-related
purposes, such as deployment of the Arrow-2 anti-ballistic
Although the Dimona site already is defended by a battery
of Hawk anti-aircraft missiles, they are not considered to
be a reliable defence against this threat.
The most specific and detailed information to be made public
about Israel´s nuclear program came from a former mid-level
nuclear technician named Mordechai Vanunu. Vanunu had worked at the Machon 2 facility at Dimona, where plutonium
is produced and bomb components fabricated, for 9 years before
his increasing involvement in left wing pro-Palestinian politics
led to his dismissal in 1986. Due to lax internal security,
prior to his departure he managed to take about 60 photographs
covering nearly every part of Machon 2 at Dimona.
After travelling around the world for several months Vanunu converted to Christianity in Australia and thereafter decided
to make public his knowledge of Israel's nuclear weapons capability.
He made contact with the London Sunday Times which
flew him to London and began preparing an exclusive news story.
Unfortunately for Vanunu, the Israeli government had
found out about his activities and the Zionist´s Mossad staged
a kidnapping that brought him back to Israel to stand trial
for "treason". This earned him a 18-year jail sentence which
he is still serving.
"There's a well-established body
of literature, much of it by Israeli experts, on the
Israeli nuclear program. Pretending it doesn't exist
really doesn't help regional stability at this point."
Cordesman, Georgetown University professor in Voice of America,
May 5th, 2000, believes it's long past time that Israel
be made to account for its own nuclear program.
The November 1994 issue of Jane's Intelligence Review published an article by acclaimed American military writer Harold Hough, that estimated that Israel at that point
possessed 200 nuclear weapons, 50 of which could be delivered
by medium-range missiles.
Hough´s article “Israel’s Nuclear Infrastructure”,
also showed that Israel had built several facilities which
provided it with the capability to launch tactical nuclear
strikes against targets in Libya, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia.
The nuclear weapons included gravity bombs, artillery shells,
landmines, special demolition devices and missiles, Hough wrote. He based his estimates on space-based surveillance
photos taken over Israel over a five-year period and commercially
available from satellite imagery companies in France and Russia.
"There also is evidence that Israel is testing a sea-launched
cruise missile in order to add another facet to its nuclear
deterrent," Hough wrote in his 1994 article, something
that corroborated well with more recent developments in the
Hough also reported that Israel at that time in 1994
lacked the ability to deliver a nuclear weapon to long-range
(strategic) targets, but that the Jewish state had built bunkers
around the country which housed several dozen intermediate-range
(tactical) "Jericho II" surface-to-surface missiles capable
of delivering nuclear warheads to targets 1,000 miles away.
Hough also said that the 30-year-old military base
near Kfar Zecharya, in the Beit Shemesh area, was the principal
launch point for Israel's medium-range nuclear defences. He
also noted in the same article that southeast of this site
there was an ultra-modern "Jericho II" missile battery known
as Kefar Zekharya, which "houses 50 nuclear-tipped missiles."
Among other litterature on the subject there are several readable
books like The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal
and American Foreign Policy by Seymour Hersh (1991), Critical Mass: The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a
Fragmenting World by William E. Burrows and Robert
Windrem (1993), Triple Cross: Israel, the Atomic Bomb and the
Man Who Spilled the Secrets by Louis Toscano (1990), Israel´s Nuclear Arsenal by Peter Pry (1984), to just give give some examples.
The latest revelations on the subject are found in the book Israel and the Bomb (1998) by Israeli citizen dr. Avner
Cohen, a book that caused an uproar when its English-language
version first appeared in the United States.
Avner Cohen is a senior research fellow at the National
Security Archive at George Washington University and a senior
fellow at the Center for International Security Studies at
More information on this book can be found
with interesting documental references at: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/israel/documents/document.htm
Apart from works by researchers, Jewish and non-Jewish, on
the subject of Israel´s nuclear ambitions, there are at times
revelations by the Zionists themselves as to these facts.
In an article in the Telegraph, "Israel reveals
secrets of how it gained bomb", by Inigo Gilmore in Jerusalem, filed on 23rd December, 2001, one reads:
A television documentary in which Shimon Peres, Israel's foreign
minister, discloses for the first time details about Israel's
acquisition of nuclear weapons is to be broadcast in the Arab
world. It is intended, at a time of rising tensions, as a warning.
In the documentary, Mr Peres goes further than
any other Israeli official in confirming that the Jewish state
has a nuclear capability. He and former French government
officials give details about co-operation between Israel and
France in launching Israel's nuclear programme.
The film, made by a leading Israeli documentary
team, is a sign that the government may be finally relaxing
its rule of absolute silence on its nuclear programme.
The documentary, The Bomb in the Basement: Israel's
Nuclear Option, was shown in Israel last month and is being
sold to leading Arabic television stations including Al-Jazeera,
the Qatar-based satellite channel.
The film reveals how France helped Israel on
its nuclear programme in exchange for support in the Suez
War. In the mid-1950s, relations between the two countries
were warming because of their shared anxiety over burgeoning
nationalist movements in North Africa.
Israel feared that the rise of Gamal Abdel Nasser
in Egypt would embolden an already formidable foe, while France
faced an Arab insurrection in Algeria, one of its last colonies.
Their interests converged in 1956 when Israel agreed to team
up with France and Britain in a war to punish Nasser for nationalising
the Suez Canal.
At the end of September 1956, in Sevres near
Paris, Mr Peres, then a 30-year-old Defence Ministry official,
accompanied David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first prime minister,
to a meeting with French and British delegations about the
Suez crisis. The Israelis waited for the British delegation
to leave before approaching the French on the matter of its
Mr Peres said: "In Sevres, when it was all over,
I told Ben-Gurion, 'There's one piece of unfinished business:
the nuclear issue. Before you agree, let me finish that.'
Of the four countries which at that time had a nuclear capacity
- the United States, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and France
- only France was willing to help us."
Mr Peres is asked in the documentary whether
Israel requested a nuclear reactor. He replies: "I asked for
more than that. I asked for other things, too; the uranium
and those things. I went up to Ben-Gurion and said, 'It's
settled.' That's how it was."
Mr Ben-Gurion approved Israel's participation
in the Suez campaign. On October 29, 1956, 400 Israeli paratroopers
were dropped in western Sinai in the first phase of the attack
The agreement with France was unprecedented.
Until then, no country had supplied another with the means
for developing a nuclear capability. Mr Karpin believes that
Mr Peres may have been motivated to speak on the subject because
he hopes that it will help to secure his place in history.
In Paris, Jean-Francois Daguzan, the deputy director
of the Foundation for Strategic Research, said that France's
deal with Israel had been kept a secret for almost 30 years.
"It was well known in military and political circles but it
didn't become public knowledge until the mid-1980s after a
book was published about that era and the agreement was mentioned.
"There was no suggestion that France had given
Israel its nuclear capacity but it had certainly helped the
country acquire it."
Here Peres reveals the Zionist desire for nuclear
technology although he tries to avoid openly stating the possession
of nuclear bombs.
The article "Open Secrets", by Jewish journalist Aluf
Benn published in the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz,
Tuesday, March 14, 2000, is more frank:
In an appendix to the Wye agreement, President Clinton promised
in writing that Israel's nuclear capabilities would be preserved
if it continues its policy of 'ambiguity'
The safe of Zvi Stauber, the prime minister's foreign policy
adviser, contains a small strategic treasure inherited from
the office's former occupants: a letter from Bill Clinton
to Benjamin Netanyahu promising that the United States will
preserve Israel's strategic deterrence capabilities and ensure
that Middle East arms control initiatives will not damage
it in the future. The Clinton letter provides written - if
secret - backup to the long-standing agreement between Jerusalem
and Washington over the preservation of Israel's nuclear capabilities
if Israel maintains its policy of "ambiguity" and does not
announce publicly that it has the bomb. The letter was an
appendix to the memo of strategic understanding that the then-prime
minister and Clinton signed after the Wye River Memorandum.
Clinton agreed to sign it only a few months after America's
global nuclear policy was shattered by the shock waves of
nuclear tests in India and Pakistan.
It was Uzi Arad, Netanyahu's foreign policy adviser, who
initiated the letter. At the Wye conference in the fall of
1998, he and Israel's ambassador to Washington, Zalman Shoval,
hammered out the document with American officials [Zionist
Jew] Martin Indyk and Bruce Reidel. This second, sensitive
document reached the Prime Minister's Bureau a few weeks after
the Wye agreement was signed, and Netanyahu sent Clinton a
letter that Israeli sources say contained no obligations but
only expressions of thanks.
Netanyahu saw Clinton's letter as one of his most important
achievements, but is unwilling to discuss its contents.
This article reveals how the Zionist establishment has nothing
against its medias talking openly about "Israel's strategic
deterrence capabilities" and "Israel's nuclear capabilities".
Actually such Israeli articles can be considered as hidden
threats as they have passed through the tight Israeli
military media censorship; the Zionists wants the world to
know about Israel´s capacities of creating a nuclear holocaust,
but will never officially admit to it in any international
It is important to remember that in Judaism the "truth" is
not a fixed thing, something sacred, but rather something
that can be twisted to fit ones aims and ambitions. According
to Jewish ideology any lie and distortion of truth is legitimate
as long as it will benefit the Jewish people and the Jewish
The center of Israel's nuclear weapons program is the Negev
Nuclear Research Center near the desert town of Dimona (the
center is usually identified simply as "Dimona"). A nuclear
reactor and plutonium production facility was built by France
at this facility in the late 1950s and early 60s (read also
the article on this subject in the appendix). All of the production and fabrication of
special nuclear materials (plutonium, lithium-6 deuteride,
and enriched and unenriched uranium) occurs at Dimona although
the design and assembly of nuclear weapons occurs elsewhere.
As described by Mordechai Vanunu, the Dimona complex
has nine buildings ("Machons", Hebrew for "facility") including
to the reactor building. The plant employs 2700 people.
Bomb components made of plutonium, lithium-6 deuteride, and
beryllium are fabricated in level 5 of Machon 2. They are
transported by convoys of unmarked cars to the warhead assembly
facility, operated by Rafael north of Haifa.
The principal uncertainty in evaluating Israel's weapon production
capability is the actual power level of the Dimona reactor.
It has long been believed that Israel has upgraded the reactor
repeatedly to increase its plutonium production. Vanunu claimed that Israel possessed 100-200 nuclear weapons (implying
some 400-800 kg of plutonium) and can produce 40 kg of plutonium
a year. This production figure indicates an average operating
power of 150 MW thermal. Analysts generally discount figures
this high, and the consensus is that it was initially operated
at 40 MW and was upgraded to 70 MW sometime before 1977. A
1996 study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
(SIPRI) produced a somewhat lower range of estimates, concluding
that Israel has produced 330-580 kg of plutonium through 1995,
enough for a stockpile of 80-150 efficient weapons (the extreme
estimate range was 190 to 880 kg).
Vanunu provided information indicating that the uranium
fuel is subjected to burnups of 400 MW-days/tonne, a figure
similar to that used by the U.S. early in its weapons production
program. This results in a high grade plutonium with a Pu-240
content of 2%. According to Vanunu 140 fuel rods are
irradiated for periods of about three months before discharge
for plutonium extraction. At 70 MW the Dimona reactor would
consume some 48 tonnes of fuel a year and produce about 18
kg of plutonium.
Vanunu also claimed that Israel possessed fusion boosted
weapons, and has developed hydrogen bomb technology. He provided
information about both lithium-6 and tritium production. He
stated that initially tritium was produced by a facility in
Machon 2 called Unit 92 by separating it from the heavy water
moderator where it is produced in small amounts as a by-product.
In 1984 production was expanded when a new facility called
Unit 93 was opened to extract tritium from enriched lithium
that had been irradiated in the reactor. The large scale production
of tritium by Israel has been confirmed by South Africa, which
received a shipments of tritium totalling 30 g during 1977-79.
This clearly indicates tritium production on a scale sufficient
for a weapon boosting program. It is difficult to find any
other rationale for such a large tritium production capability
except some sort of thermonuclear weapon application.
It is quite difficult to develop gas fusion boosting technology
like that used in U.S. weapons and weapons tests are probably
essential. Although radiation implosion weapons could be developed
without testing, they would tend to be large and heavy and
would perhaps be incompatible with Israel's available delivery
systems. It is quite possible then that a Sloika/Alarm Clock
type system has been developed using lithium-6 deuteride fuel
surrounding the plutonium core (in fact a weapon mock-up photographed
by Vanunu appears to be this type of weapon). Tritium
could be used to spike the fusion fuel and boost the yield,
just as the Soviets did with the 400 Kt "Joe-4".
Bomb components made of plutonium, lithium-6 deuteride, and
beryllium are fabricated in level 5 of Machon 2. They are
transported by convoys of unmarked cars to the warhead assembly
facility, operated by Rafael north of Haifa.
Jewish author Seymour Hersh reports that Israel has
developed an extensive array of tactical nuclear weapons:
efficient compact boosted fission bombs, neutron bombs (allegedly
numbering in the hundreds by the mid-eighties), nuclear artillery
shells, and nuclear mines. With an arsenal that is quite possibly
in excess of 100 weapons it is likely that some of the nuclear
materials would be applied tactical weapons. Boosted bombs
are doubtful, as are neutron bombs, due to problems with development
in the absence of a significant testing program. Neutron bombs
also require very large amounts of tritium (20-30 g per weapon)
which would impact the production of plutonium quite seriously
(each gram of tritium displaces 80 grams of plutonium production).
Artillery shells are also doubtful due to their wastefulness
in plutonium. Tactical weapons are probably aircraft or missile
delivered, or are pre-emplaced mines.
Authors William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem in Critical Mass claim that Israel has produced 300
warheads, including those that have since been dismantled.
They place the current arsenal at about 200 weapons.
Several reports have surfaced claiming that Israel has some
uranium enrichment capability at Dimona. Vanunu asserted
that gas centrifuges were operating in Machon 8, and that
a laser enrichment plant was being operated in Machon 9 (Israel
holds a 1973 patent on laser isotopic enrichment). According
to Vanunu the production-scale plant has been operating
since 1979-80. The scale of a centrifuge operation would necessarily
be limited due to space constraints, and might be focused
toward enriching depleted reactor fuel to more efficiently
use Israel's uranium supply. A laser enrichment system, if
developed to operational status, could be quite compact however
and might be producing weapon grade material in substantial
quantities. If highly enriched uranium is being produced in
substantial quantities, then Israel's nuclear arsenal could
be much larger than estimated solely from plutonium production.
Israel produces uranium domestically as a by-product of phosphate
mining near the Dead Sea but this amounts to only 10 tons
a year, and is grossly insufficient for its needs. Israel
has addressed this shortfall by reprocessing the low burnup
spent fuel to recover uranium (which most nations do not do).
It is also known to have purchased at least 200 tons of natural
uranium on the world market under an alias. A major source
though was some 600 tons of uranium provided by South Africa
in a quid pro quo for Israel's assistance on its weapons program.
Combined with uranium recycling, and the possible use of enrichment
to stretch the uranium supply, these quantities may be sufficient
to account for Dimona's fuel supply to the present date.
Israel can undoubtedly deploy nuclear weapons using its air
force. The aircraft and crews dedicated to nuclear weapons
delivery are located at the Tel Nof airbase. Originally the
F-4 Phantom II acquired in 1969 was probably the designated
carrier, today it would be the F-16. The F-16 has an unrefueled
radius of action of 1250 km, extending out to western Iran,
the shores of the Black Sea, Riyadh, or the Libyan border.
With refueling it can travel much farther of course, and an
unrefueled one-way mission could take it as far as Moscow.
Israel also possesses medium-range ballistic missiles: the
Jericho-1 (Ya-1 "Luz") with a 500 kg payload, and a range
of 480-650 km (operational since 1973); and the Jericho 2
(either Ya-2 or Ya-3) with a 1000 kg payload and a range of
over 1500 km (operational since 1990). Under development is
the Jericho-2B with a range of 2,500 km. These missiles were
almost certainly developed specifically as nuclear delivery
systems (although chemical warheads cannot be ruled out).
About 50 Jericho-1s and 50 Jericho-2s are believed to have
been deployed. Israel also has a 100 or more U.S. supplied
Lance tactical missiles, with a range of 115 km (72 miles).
Although these were supplied with conventional warheads, they
could very well have been outfitted with nuclear or chemical
This is believed to be named Luz and designated YA-1
by Israel. It is based on the French missile MD-600 built
by Dassault and was developed during the 1960s.
Length: 10 m
Width 1.0 m
Launch weight 4500 kg
Propulsion: Two stage solid propellant
Range: 500 km
Payload: 500 kg
Jericho-2 development is indigenous, and started soon after
the Jericho-1 was deployed. Test launches began in 1986 and
the first two had ranges of 465 km (1986) and 820 km (1987).
The Jericho-2 shares the first two stages of the civilian
Shavit (Comet) space launch vehicle, which has launched Israel's
four satellites, the Offeq-1, 2, and 3 reconnaissance satellites,
and the Amos communications satellite.
space launch vehicle, Offeq-2 launch on 3 April 1990 (13 K)
Length: 12 m
Width 1.2 m
Launch weight 6500 kg
Propulsion: Two stage solid propellant
Range: 1500 km
Payload: 1000 kg
The Jericho 1 and 2 are deployed near Kfar Zachariah and Sderot
Micha about 23 km east of Jerusalem (and about 40 km southeast
of Tel Aviv). Located a few kilometers to the northwest is
Tel Nof air base. Images of the missile complex made by commercial
satellites have been published in recent years, and September
1997 Jane's Intelligence Review published a 3-D analysis
of high resolution pictures taken by the Indian IRS-C satellite.
The complex is compact - smaller than 6 km x 4 km. The missiles
are mobile, being deployed on transporter-erector-launchers
(TELs), and are based in bunkers tunneled into the side of
the limestone hills. There are no signs of missile silos.
TELs require firm, accurately leveled ground in order to launch,
and maximum missile accuracy requires pre-surveyed launch
points. Consequently there are a number of prepared launch
pads (paved culs-de-sac) connected to these bunkers by paved
roads. Images of an actual Jericho 2 TEL indicate that it
is about 16 m long, 4 m wide, and 3 m high. It is accompanied
by three support vehicles (probably a power supply vehicle,
a firing control vehicle, and a communications vehicle). The
Zachariah missile base was enlarged between 1989 and 1993
during the Jericho-2 deployment. A few kilometers north of
Tel Nof is the Be'er Yaakov factory where the Jericho missiles
and the Shavit are believed to have been manufactured.
From its deployment location in central Israel the Jericho-1
missile can reach such targets as Damascus, Aleppo, and Cairo.
The Jericho-2 can reach any part of Syria or Iraq, and as
far as Teheran, and Benghazi, Libya. The Jericho-2B will be
able to reach any part of Libya or Iran, and as far as southern
Russia. The short range of the Lance limits it mainly to battlefield
use, although the Syrian capital of Damascus is in range from
much of northern Israel. According to Jane's World Air
Forces, Israel has three Jericho-equipped missile squadrons.
Also located at the site are a group of 21 bunkers thought
to contain nuclear gravity bombs. Five of the larger ones
are about 15 m wide and 20 m long, and rise 6 m above ground.
The Jewish state has already tested these missile´s capabilities.
In Israeli newspaper Ha´aretz (English Internet Edition),
May 3, 2000, in the article "Israeli missile test too close
for U.S. Navy cruiser's comfort. Scientists think Israel has
long-range ballistic arms", Amnon Barzilai, Ha'aretz Defence Correspondent, reports:
The new version of the Jericho-2 missile reportedly includes
most neighboring countries in its range, and its accuracy is
considered to be very good. The U.S. National Security Agency
has monitored the test program of the Jericho-2 and has recorded
several test firings over the Mediterranean. According to the
Federation of American Scientists, test firings of the missile
at ranges in excess of 1300 kilometers have been conducted in
According to the organization, the capability of Israel's
ballistic missiles has been estimated to be far greater. Based
on calculations derived from the Shavit rockets carrying the
Ofek satellites, Israel's ballistic missiles are capable of
carrying a nuclear payload across ranges in excess of 5,300
kilometers. But experts at the Pentagon estimate that an Israeli
missile with a 7,200-kilometer range is possible. Another
estimate was given in July 1990 by University of Maryland
physicist Steve Peter, who calculated that the Shavit rocket
has a range of 4,000 kilometers with a maximum payload of
775 kilograms. All these assessments place the whole of the
Middle East within the range of Israel's ballistic missiles.
But Israel isn´t satisfied with only possessing a ballistic
missile capability to deliver its weapons of mass destruction.
The July 1, 1998, article in The Washington Times, "Israel buying 3 submarines
to carry nuclear missiles", by Martin Sieff, reports
on the latest Zionist conquest in obtaining delivery systems
for its nuclear arms:
The respected Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported June 8 that
Israeli military planners want to mount nuclear-armed cruise
missiles on the new submarines.
Maj. Gen. Avraham Botzer, former commander of the Israeli
navy, told Israeli television in December 1990 that his country
needed submarines not just to attack enemy warships but also
as platforms for weapon systems to deter against an attack
by weapons of mass destruction.
"The submarines must be [an instrument] of the state of Israel,
not just the navy," Gen. Botzer said.
"Submarines all over the world serve as part of the deterrent
system against nonconventional warfare. They are a way of
guaranteeing that the enemy will not be tempted to strike
pre-emptively with nonconventional weapons and get away scot-free."
A recent Pentagon study said Israel has developed an air-launched
cruise missile that should be operational by 2002. The missile,
called the Popeye Turbo, will have a range of more than 200
miles, the U.S. report said.
U.S. military analysts said the Popeye could easily be adapted
for launch from a submarine.
Anthony Cordesman, co-director of the Middle East program
at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, wrote
in a study published June 3 that the Popeye cruise missile
was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.
Jane's Intelligence Review reported Sept. 1 that photo reconnaissance
indicated Israel had stored around 150 nuclear warheads and
50 Jericho II intermediate range missiles to carry them at
Zachariah air force base southeast of Tel Aviv. Zachariah
means in Hebrew, "God remembers with vengeance."
The London-based Jane's also estimated "that the Israeli arsenal
may contain as many as 400 nuclear weapons with a total combined
yield of 50 megatons."
The Jericho is believed to have a 3,000-mile range and carry
a payload of just under 1 ton, easily enough to accommodate
even a hydrogen bomb.
The article "Fears Of New Arms Race As Israel Tests Cruise
Missiles" by Uzi Mahnaimi and Peter Conradi London Sunday Times June 18, 2000, describes how Israel
therafter has test-fired cruise missiles capable of carrying
nuclear warheads. The tests, involving two German-built Dolphin-class
submarines, took place off the coast of Sri Lanka. The Israeli-made
missiles, which were equipped with conventional warheads,
hit targets at sea at a range of about 930 miles.
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace published
a report early in June 2002, detailing the Israeli nuclear
weapons program. That booklength report on global nuclear
weapons proliferation, Deadly Arsenals - Tracking Weapons
of Mass Destruction, included an entire chapter on Israel's
nuclear, chemical and biological weapons program.
The Carnegie authors wrote, "Probably the most important
nuclear-related development in Israel is the formation of
its sea-based nuclear arm. By July 2000 Israel completed taking
delivery of all three of the Dolphin-class submarines it had
ordered at the Thyssen-Nordseewerke shipyard in Kiel, Germany.
In doing so, it is widely believed, Israel moved significantly
toward acquiring a survivable second-strike nuclear capability.
All indications are that Israel is on the way to finalizing
a restructuring of its nuclear forces into a triad, like the
"Since the early 1980s (and probably even earlier) the Israeli
navy (jointly with other governmental agencies) lobbied hard
for the notion that Israel should build a small fleet of modern
diesel submarines for `strategic purposes,' an Israeli euphemism
for a sea-launched nuclear capability... It is also believed
(but not confirmed) that the most sensitive aspect of the
project, the cruise-missile technology that renders the diesel
submarines nuclear-capable launching platforms, was developed
and built in Israel... According to one report in the London
Sunday Times (June 18, 2000), by early 2000 Israel had carried
out the first launching tests of its cruise missiles."
The Carnegie study concluded, "A fleet of three submarines
is believed to be the minimum that Israel needs to have a
deployment at sea of one nuclear-armed submarine at all times."
The fact that Israel has achieved a deployable nuclear triad
was also advertised in a June 15, 2002, report in the Washington
Post, under the headline, "Israel Has Submarine-Based
Atomic Arms Capability".
Further revelations were released in an article in the Los
Angeles Times on Oct. 12th, 2003, where two unnamed Bush Administration officials disclosed, and an Israeli official
confirmed, that Israel really has modified U.S.-supplied nuclear-armed
cruise missiles, and installed them on the three German-built
submarines in its navy.
All three spoke on condition of anonymity.
Also on Sunday October 12th,
2003, The Observer on-line edition published the following
article on these latest revelations:
deploys nuclear arms in submarines
Beaumont in London and Conal Urquhart in Jerusalem
Israeli and American officials have admitted collaborating
to deploy US-supplied Harpoon cruise missiles armed with nuclear
warheads in Israel's fleet of Dolphin-class submarines, giving
the Middle East's only nuclear power the ability to strike
at any of its Arab neighbours.
The unprecedented disclosure
came as Israel announced that states 'harbouring terrorists'
are legitimate targets, responding to Syria's declaration
of its right to self-defence should Israel bomb its territory
According to Israeli and Bush
administration officials interviewed by the Los Angeles Times,
the sea-launch capability gives Israel the ability to target
Iran more easily should the Iranians develop their own nuclear
these disclosures the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot also on the same Oct. 12th, 2003, published a photo of the
Dolphin submarine, with graphics explaining how it could "sneak
up" toward Iran and fire its nuclear warheads, thus underlining
the threat these submarines pose to the states which are opposing
Zionist expansionism in the region.
Again this kind of information, published in the medias of
the Jewish state, cannot be perceived as anything but another
hidden threat from the leaders of that state, threats directed
against Iran and any other country that opposes Israel´s military
The Jewish author Seymour Hersh relates extensive
(and highly successful) efforts by Israel to obtain targeting
data from U.S. intelligence. Much satellite imaging data of
the Soviet Union was obtained through the American spy, the
Jew Jonathan Pollard (Pollard spied for Israel
and he provided it with U.S. radar-images of targets in the
Arab countries and in the Soviet Union. These pictures were
crucial, since they serve the guidance system of Israel's
Jericho 2 missile, which became operational just at that time,
in 1984 and 1985).
Satellite imagery from a U.S. KH-11 satellite for example
was used to plan the 7 June 1981 attack on the Tammuz-1 reactor
at Osiraq, Iraq. This attack, carried out by 8 F-16s accompanied
by 6 F-15s punched a hole in the concrete reactor dome before
the reactor began operation (and just days before an Israeli
election) and delivered 15 delay-fuzed 2000 lb bombs deep
into the reactor structure (the 16th bomb hit a nearby hall).
The blasts shredded the reactor and blew out the dome foundations,
causing it to collapse on the rubble.
This was the world's first attack on a nuclear reactor.
Since 19 September 1988 Israel has had its own satellite
reconnaissance system and thus no longer needs to rely on
U.S. sources. On that day the Offeq-1 satellite was launched
on the Shavit booster, a system closely related to the Jericho-2
missile. Offeq-2 went up on 3 April 1990. The launch of the
Offeq-3 failed on its first attempton 15 September 1994, but
was retried successfully 05 April 1995.
Zionist Nuclear Threat
Threats of Using Nuclear Weapons
Resorting to the nuclear option, i.e. attacking Israel´s
opponents with the most horrendous of weapons, is something
that is always taken into consideration in Zionist military
History shows that this option has been contemplated at several
times by the leaders of the Jewish state.
For example it is widely reported that Israel had two bombs
in 1967, and that Prime Minister Eshkol actually ordered
them armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six-Day
It has to be remembered that this war was nothing but a Jewish blitzkrieg, a carefully planned operation with the
aim of maximum land grab and expansion of Israel´s borders.
The propaganda about Israel being threatened by annihilation
in 1967 has been refuted by the most distinguished of Jewish
sources and Israeli leaders.
And after 1967 the nuclear bombing option has been contemplated
by Israel at several occassions.
The anti-Zionist Jew Israel Shahak writes in his book "Open Secrets: Israeli Nuclear and Foreign Policies" (Pluto
Press,1997) on the bloodthirst of Jewish super hero Moshe
Dayan during the October 1973 Yom Kippur (or Ramadan)
Dayan, the Chief of Staff, the commander of the Air Force, all
talked about Damascus. "We must smash Syria within the next
24 hours", said the Chief of Staff to the accompanying officers.
"We have 400 tanks now fighting like hell. Therefore the Syrian
cities of Damascus, Aleppo, Homs and Latakia should be obliterated.
I must do something dramatic enough to make Syria cry `Whoah!',
to make them beg us `Please stop firing!' For that purpose I
need something that will deprive them of all electricity, destroy
all their power stations, and scorch their earth"'.
Fearing territorial defeat in the October 1973 War, the Zionists
in Israel assembled 13 twenty-kiloton atomic bombs.
Author Seymour Hersh reports that the decision
was made by Zionist PM Golda Meir and her "kitchen
cabinet" on the night of 8 October. This resulted in the Jericho
missiles at Hirbat Zachariah and the nuclear strike F-4s at
Tel Nof being armed and prepared for action against Syrian
and Egyptian targets. U.S. Sec. of State at the time, the
German-born Zionist Jew Henry Kissinger, was apparently
notified of this alert several hours later on the morning
of 9 October, which helped motivate a U.S. decision to promptly
open a resupply pipeline to Israel (Israeli aircraft began
picking up supplies that day, the first U.S. flights arrived
on 14 October).
Thus possessing nuclear arms and threatening to use them
- Jewish styled nuclear extortion - payed off.
Continual threats from the Zionist leadership of using their
weapons of mass destruction are frequently made, although
they never make a headline in the Zionist-controlled medias
i the West.
War Criminal and present Zionist leader Ariel Sharon has even been quoted as saying, “Arabs may have the oil, but
we have the matches.”(Mark Gaffney, Dimona: The
Third Temple? The Story Behind the Vanunu Revelation,
p. 165. , Vermont: Amana Books, 1989).
ommenting on the crisis with Iraq in the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem Post, political analyst Yossi Ben-Aharon wrote on 9 February 1998 that "it should be made absolutely
clear to the Iraqi dictator from the outset that any attempt
against Israel will trigger, at the very least, a devastation
of Iraq's western provinces."(Yossi Ben-Aharon, "Repeat
Performance", Jerusalem Post, 9 February, 1998).
This of course also is a direct threat that any attack against
the Zionist state will trigger a nuclear response.
Israel Shahak also writes in his book "Open Secrets":
A long-standing Israeli custom commands the generals in active
service to stop short of saying too much in interviews, but
it lets semi-official experts or retired generals reveal the
Israeli strategic intentions to the nation's elite in a more
informative manner. The explanation of the crucial and most
sensitive Israeli strategic aims, concerning the role of nuclear
weapons in overall Israeli strategy was left to Oded Brosh.
Regarding the uses of Israeli nuclear weapons during a war,
Brosh sees two major options. The first, `the last-minute
option' is defined as `a scenario which in fact presumes that
Israel will refrain from making any nuclear threats unless
it is defeated by conventional weapons, or can realistically
expect such a defeat as imminent, or is threatened by use
of non-conventional weapons'. In this way `the Arab leaders
can be denied a victory' by the threat of `the destruction
of Arab civilization'. In my view, this can be interpreted
as meaning that Israel has contingency plans for cases of
extreme emergency which envisage a devastation by nuclear
weapons of a considerable number of Arab urban centres and
such crucial installations as the Aswan Dam (whose destruction
was envisaged in Israel before 1973). This awful possibility
needs to be faced, however horrifying may be the thought about
its direct effects on the Arab world and indirect effects
upon the entire world in terms of massive human casualties
and the long-term effects of radioactivity.
Brosh argues that `we need not be ashamed that the nuclear
option is a major instrumentality of our defence as a deterrent
against those who may attack us. The three big democracies
have relied on the same deterrent for decades.' The very comparison
of Israel's strategic aims with those of the US, Britain and
France is an irrefutable proof of Israel's ambition to achieve
the status of a superpower. But Israel can become a superpower
only if it succeeds in establishing a hegemony over the entire
Provoking wars and using nuclear arms against Syria is also
part of the Zionist strategies. Shahak writes in "Open
Numerous translations of mine from the Hebrew press envision,
from time to time, a `pre-emptive' Israeli war as likely and
as directed against Syria, which has been long regarded by Israel
as its enemy number one. Particularly relevant in this context
is the 18 February 1991 speech by Yitzhak Rabin (as the head
of opposition) to the Labor Knesset faction. Rabin's speech
contained three crucial points. The first point was that Israel
was doomed to live forever in war, or under the threat of war
with the entire Arab world, but at this point of time especially
with Syria. The second was that in all its wars Israel `must
assume an essentially aggressive role, so as to be in the position
to dictate the terms of a conclusion'. Prerequisite to that
is `a further increase of the offensive power of Israeli Air
and Armour forces needed to achieve a quick victory'. The third
was Rabin's criticism of Arens (then the Defence Minister) for
letting Iraqi missiles hit Israel: `What had we told them [the
Arabs]? If you send missiles on Tel Aviv, Damascus will be turned
into a ruin. If you send missiles also on Haifa, not only Damascus
but also Aleppo will cease to exist. They will be destroyed
root and branch. Without dealing only with missile launchers,
we will devastate Damascus.' Various Israeli commentators, e.g.
Uzi Benziman and Reuven Padatzur of Haaretz and Ya'akov Sharett
of Davar, understood these words as intended to mean that Israel
had already threatened Syria (and other Arab countries as well)
with obliteration of its cities by nuclear weapons.
The latest Zionist threats have mainly been directed against
the sovereign Moslem state of Iran, which also explains the
Western Zionist infiltrated mass medias fixation on the issue
of alleged Iranian weapons of mass destruction.
Shahak writes in "Open Secrets":
Since the spring of 1992 public opinion in Israel is being prepared
for the prospect of a war with Iran, to be fought to bring about
Iran's total military and political defeat. In one version,
Israel would attack Iran alone, in another it would `persuade'
the West to do the job. The indoctrination campaign to this
effect is gaining in intensity.
Shahak gives the example of an interview with Daniel
Leshem, a retired senior officer in the Israeli Military
Intelligence, now member of the Centre for Strategic Research
at the Tel Aviv University, published in Israeli paper Al
Hamishmar (19 February, 1993) under the title "Iran
needs to be treated just as Iraq had been", where Leshem speaks of the necessity of provoking a war against Iran:
Hence Leshem believes that Israel should make Iran fear Israeli
nuclear weapons, but without hoping that it might deter it from
developing their own; he proposes `to create the situation which
would appear similar to that with Iraq before the Gulf crisis'.
He believes this could `stop the Ayatollahs, if this is what
the world really wants'. How to do it? `Iran claims sovereignty
over three strategically located islands in the Gulf. Domination
over those islands is capable of assuring domination not only
over all the already active oilfields of the area, but also
over all the natural gas sources not yet exploited. We should
hope that, emulating Iraq, Iran would contest the Gulf Emirates
and Saudi Arabia over these islands and, repeating Saddam Hussein's
mistake in Kuwait, start a war. This may lead to an imposition
of controls over Iranian nuclear developments the way it did
Shahak states further in the same book:
Provoking Iran into responding with war or measures just stopping
short of war, is also elaborated by many other commentators.
In Al Hamishmar (19 February, 1993), the political
correspondent Yo'av Kaspi also interviews the notorious
Zionist "hawk", professor Shlomo Aharonson. Shahak quotes from the interview and writes:
There is a lot more in the same vein before Aharonson concludes:
`We should see to it that no Palestinian state ever comes into
being, even if Iranians threaten us with nuclear weapons. And
we should also see to it that Iran lives in permanent fear of
Israeli nuclear weapons being used against it.'
Apart from the aggressivness of Zionist political and military
establishment in Israel, the very same establishment is also
infiltrated by even more extremist Jews, who more dogmatically
adhere to Jewish Law and the genocidal teachings of the Jewish
Bible, the Torah, and the Talmud. To these people Armageddon is just God´s will. These pious Jews, will
not, in difference to their smarter and more scheming brethren,
take political and propagandistic consequences into calculation,
but actually stick to the teachings of the Jewish scriptures.
The assassination of former Israeli PM Yitzhak Rabin has shown the impact of these groups within the Zionist security/military
One horrific scenario is that the Gush Emunim, a fanatic
Jewish religious organization with significant influence in
Israel, or other Jewish zealots, would hijack a nuclear device
to - for instance - “liberate” the Temple Mount and pave way
for the building of the third Jewish temple, or as an other
possible example, threatening the use of hijacked nukes to
force the expulsion of remaining Palestinians.
A 1997 Jane's Intelligence Review article reviewing
the so-called "Israeli Defence Forces", repeatedly stressed
the possibilities of, and the need to guard against, a religious,
right wing military coup, especially as the proportion of
religious in the military increases (Ed Blanche, “Is
the Myth Fading for the Israeli Army? - Part 1”, Jane's
Intelligence Review, 8, no. 12 (December 1996), 547-550
and “Is the myth fading for the Israeli Army? - Part
2”, Jane's Intelligence Review 9, no. 1 (January
Israel Shahak writes in his above mentioned book "Open
Secrets" on this issue:
Not only is the prospect of Dimona one day becoming another
Chernobyl something to be seriously discussed. The prospect
of Gush Emunim ('The Block of the Faithful'), or some secular
right-wing Israeli fanatics, or some of the delirious Israeli
Army generals, seizing control of Israeli nuclear weapons and
using them in accordance with their `knowledge' of politics
or by the authority of `divine command' cannot be precluded
either. In my view the likelihood of the occurrence of some
such calamity is growing. We should not forget that while Israeli
Jewish society undergoes a steady political polarization, the
Israeli Security System increasingly relies on the recruitment
of cohorts from the ranks of the extreme right.
In the same book Shahak also writes:
By 1992, Israel already abounds in Jewish religious zealots
whose influence within the Security System is growing steadily.
Gush Emunim or the followers of any extremist Hassidic rabbi
are quite capable in my view of activating such scenarios even
in peacetime for the sake of thus advancing their Messianic
prophecies which by definition imply that God will protect the
Jews from any injury and inflict devastation on Gentiles alone.
It is a global duty, for the sake of world peace, to spread
information on this apocalyptic threat in order to bring about
an Israeli disarmament, and thus preventing these fanatics
from realizing their evil and absurd visions of destruction
|"At present, by not being able to
talk about Israel's nuclear program, you can't talk
about any aspect of arms control. The American viewpoint
should be frankly to block proliferation regardless
of what country is involved."
Cordesman, Georgetown University professor
in Voice of America, on May 5th, 2000.
Israel is widely believed to
have nuclear weapons capability but has not signed on to major
agreements, including the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty,
which is aimed at curbing the spread of nuclear arms.
Many people in the Middle East wonder about the fuss over
Iran's nuclear programme, which is for peaceful purposes,
when it is known Israel is a major nuclear power. As party
to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, NPT, Iran signed
in 1968 when the NPT came into existence, Iran has repeatedly
stated said it is compelled to develop a nuclear programme
for peaceful purposes only.
It is Israel that introduced nuclear weapons into the Middle
East. As early as 1948, it began scientific research with
the help of France to acquire a nuclear capability. With a
suggested capability of between 200 and 400 thermonuclear
and nuclear weapons, Israel today stands as one of the leading
nuclear powers in terms of an offensive military arsenal.
While the U.S. is pressing Iran to sign an additional protocol
or addendum to the NPT which will allow the International
Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to make unnannouced, on-the-spot
inspections which are deemed to be more searching than the
regular inspections, the Jewish state of Israel - a well established
nuclear power - is left unnoticed.
One can just promptly conclude that the so-called "objective"
and "independent" international body IAEA has been turned
into an instrument for Zionism. The organizations role in
aiding the Zionist-U.S. effort in the question of alleged
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq before the 2003 war and
invasion, illustrates this very well.
As has been revealed IAEA leading figure, the Swede Hans
Blix, himself can trace Jewish ancestry (namely his grandmother),
and he has a long history as a political activist within the
Swedish "Folkpartiet" (the Liberal Party), among whose
leading figures one finds the most rabid of Zionists, like Hadar Cars for instance, who is a long time
personal friend to Mr. Blix and until 2003 headed the Association of Sweden-Israel, the No. 1 pro-Israel
friendship association in Sweden.
After helping in the Iraq-WMD debacle the very same compromised
organization IAEA - as soon as the Zionist lobby in the U.S.
desires - stands ready to harass the next state on the Zionists
hit list, namely Iran, initiating processes that provide the
Western medias with the proper media headlines to legitimate
U.S. threats and war mongering.
While simultanously the question of Israel´s nuclear program
and weapons are forgotten.
The IAEA lap-dog status could be noted already in 1999 when
a report by IAEA which assessed the nuclear performance of
various states, made no mention of Israel's failure to observe
the agency's safeguard system. Officials at the IAEA also
admitted they were not operating a fully effective and comprehensive
safeguard system in Israel as they are in Iraq, "because the
agency has no right to implement such safeguards in Israel
since Israel is not a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
"It is not the weakness of the safeguard system, but rather
a consequence of state sovereignty," Mohamed El-Baradei, director-general
of the IAEA, said on the issue. "We are not an international
nuclear police that can force its way to facilities it feels
it must visit," El-Baradei said.
"All we can do is report a case of non-compliance to the
UN Security Council which has the legal power to make a state
fulfill its obligations."
This very lame attitude towards Israel and respect of its
"state sovereignty" illustrates the complete decay of IAEA
as an independent body.
surprises us is that at a time when the International
Atomic Energy Agency is intensifying its efforts and
monitoring (NPT) members countries ... we see that it
continues to ignore the rejection of Israel in not joining
constitutes a serious threat to the security and stability
of the whole region."
- Saudi Arabian Foreign
Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal at the annual meeting of the U.N. General Assembly,
reported by BBC News, published Sept. 30, 2003.
So if Israel suddenly signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), and paved way for international inspections,
what could one expect from these inspections?
History will tell.
When there was a time that Israel did actually allow for
"inspections" of its facilities - in the beginning of its
nuclear program - these inspections turned out to be nothing
but a Zionist directed farce.
To "assure" the U.S. government
that no nuclear bombs were being produced at the Israeli government's
Dimona nuclear bomb factory, Israeli Prime Minister Ben-Gurion "agreed to permit regular inspections of the plant by American
experts, but he secretly ordered severe restrictions on the
inspectors' access," according to Triple Cross by Louis
Toscano, the former United Press International Jerusalem
The Israel´s Nuclear Arsenal book by Peter Pry, notes that the 1969 U.S.
inspection team "complained in writing that because the Israelis
made their earlier inspection hurried and limited and did
not permit them to move freely, they could not guarantee that
there was no weapons-related work being done at Dimona." And
according to Triple Cross, on one second-floor corridor
at the Machon 2 nuclear bomb factory are two elevators "that
dropped into the heart of the weapons plant," but the entrance
to the corridor where the elevator doors are located "had
been routinely bricked up when American inspectors were shown
After 1969, even the previously
limited U.S. inspections of the Dimona Nuclear Bomb Factory
were no longer allowed by the Israeli government. And in November,
1976, thirteen U.S. Senators who were on a Middle East fact-finding
tour were not allowed to examine the Dimona Nuclear Bomb Factory.
According to Triple Cross, taped to a wall in Machon
2 in 1977 was "a newspaper clipping about the senators' attempted
visit and the government's denial that any weapons were being
built at Dimona."
A Short Essay
on the History of Israel's Nuclear Weapons Program
The Zionist state of Israel's involvement with nuclear technology
literally extends back to the founding of the country in 1948.
A host of Jewish scientists emigrated to Palestine during
the thirties and forties, particularly one Ernst David
Bergmann - later the director of the Israeli Atomic Energy
Commission and the founder of Israel's efforts to develop
nuclear weapons. The Weizmann Institute of Science actively
supported nuclear research by 1949, with Bergmann heading
its chemistry division. Also in 1949, Francis Perrin - French nuclear physicist, atomic energy commissioner, and
personal friend of Bergmann's - visited the Weizmann
Institute, after which Israeli scientists were invited to
the newly established French nuclear research facility at
Saclay. A joint research effort was subsequently set up between
the two nations.
At this time France's nuclear research capability was quite
limited. France had been a leading research center in nuclear
physics before the war, but had fallen far behind developments
in the U.S., the USSR, Britain, and even Canada. Israel and
France were thus at a similar levels of expertise at the time.
In the 1950s and early 1960s, the colonial power France and
the newly established Jewish colonial state "Israel" in occupied
Palestine had very close relations. France was Israel's principal
arms supplier, and as instability spread in France's colonies
in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained
from its contacts with sephardic Jews in those countries.
Consequently the development of nuclear science and technology
in France and Israel remained closely linked in the early
fifties, for example Jewish scientists from Israel were involved
in the construction of the G-1 plutonium production reactor
and UP1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule.
Israel also managed to get France´s collaboration (along
with Britain) in planning and staging the joint Suez-Sinai
operation against the sovereign Arab state of Egypt in October
1956. The Suez Crisis, as it became known, proved to be the
genesis of Israel's nuclear weapons production program.
Six weeks before the operation Israel felt the time was right
to approach France for assistance in building a nuclear reactor.
Canada had set a precedent a year earlier when it had agreed
to build the 40 MW CIRUS reactor in India. Shimon Peres,
a key aide to Prime Minister (and Defence Minister) David
Ben Gurion, and Bergmann met with members of the CEA (France's
Atomic Energy Commission). An initial understanding to provide
a research reactor appears to have been reached during September.
On the whole the Suez operation, launched on 29 October was
a disaster for both France and Britain whereas for Israels
the invasion was a stunning success for the Zionist cause,
allowing Israel to occupy the entire Sinai peninsula by 4
November. The French and British invasion of Egypt on 6 November
failed - the attempt to advance along the Suez canal bogged
down and then collapsed under fierce U.S. and Soviet pressure.
Both European nations pulled out.
On 7 November 1956, a secret meeting was held between foreign
minister Golda Meir, Peres, and French foreign
and defence ministers Mssrs. Christian Pineau and Maurice
Bourges-Manoury. In this meeting the initial understanding
about a research reactor may have been substantially modified,
and Peres seems to have secured an agreement to assist
Israel in developing a nuclear deterrent.
After some further months of negotiation, the initial agreement
for assistance took the form of an 18 MW (thermal) research
reactor of the EL-3 type, along with plutonium separation
technology. At some point this was officially upgraded to
24 MW, but the actual specifications issued to engineers provided
for core cooling ducts sufficient for up to three times this
power level, along with a plutonium plant of similar capacity.
How this upgrade came about remains unknown.
The reactor was secretly built underground at Dimona, in
the Negev desert of southern Israel near Beersheba. Hundreds
of French engineers and technicians filled Beersheba which,
although it was the biggest town in the Negev, was still a
small town. Many of the same contractors who built Marcoule
were involved, for example the plutonium separation plants
in both France and Israel were built by SGN. The Ground was
broken for the EL-102 reactor (as it was known to France)
in early 1958. The heavy water for the reactor was purchased
from Norway, which sold 20 tons to Israel in 1959 allegedly
for use in an experimental power reactor Norway insisted on
the right to inspect the heavy water for peaceful use for
32 years, but was permitted to do so only once, in April 1961,
prior to it being loaded into the Dimona reactor tank.
Israel used a variety of subterfuges to explain away the
activity at Dimona - calling it a "manganese plant" among
other things (although apparently not a "textile plant" as
most accounts claim). U.S. intelligence became aware of the
project before the end of 1958, took picture of the project
from U-2 spy planes, and identified the site as a probable
reactor complex. The concentration of Frenchmen was certainly
impossible to hide.
In 1960, before the reactor was operating, France, now under
the leadership of de Gaulle, reconsidered the deal
and decided to suspend the project. After several months of
negotiation, an agreement was reached in November that allowed
the reactor to proceed if Israel promised not the make weapons
and announced the project to the world, work on the plutonium
On 2 December 1960, before Israel could make the announcement,
the U.S. State Department issued a determination that Israel
had a secret nuclear installation. By 16 December this became
public knowledge with its appearance in the New York Times.
On 21 December Ben Gurion announced that Israel was
building a 24 MW reactor "for peaceful purposes".
Over the next year the relationship between the U.S. and
Israel was strained over the issue. The U.S. accepted Israel's
claims at face value in public, but exerted pressure privately.
Although Israel did allow a cursory inspection by physicists Eugene Wigner and I.I. Rabi, PM Ben Gurion consistently refused to allow international inspections. The
final resolution was a commitment from Israel to use the facility
for peaceful purposes, and an agreement to admit a U.S. inspection
team once a year. These inspections, begun in 1962 and continued
until 1969, were only shown the above-ground part of the buildings,
which continued down many levels underground. The above ground
areas had simulated control rooms, and access to the underground
areas was kept bricked up while the inspectors where present.
In 1962 the Dimona reactor went critical, and the French
resumed work on the plutonium plant, believed to have been
completed in 1964 or 1965. The acquisition of this reactor
and related technologies was clearly intended for military
purposes from the outset (not "dual use") as the reactor has
no other function. The security at Dimona (officially the
Negev Nuclear Research Center) is stringent, an IAF Mirage
was actually shot down in 1967 for straying into Dimona's
airspace. There is little doubt then, that some time in the
late sixties Israel became the sixth nation to manufacture
According to Jewish author Seymour Hersh, PM Levi
Eshkol delayed starting nuclear weapons production even
after the Dimona facility was finished. The reactor remained
in operation so the plutonium continued to collect, whether
it was separated or not. It is generally believed that the
first extraction of plutonium occurred in 1965, and that enough
plutonium was on hand for one weapon during the Six Day War
in 1967 although whether a prototype weapon actually existed
or not is unknown. Hersh relates that Moshe Dayan gave the go ahead for starting weapon production in early
1968, which is when the plutonium separation plant presumably
went into full operation. After this Israel began producing
three to five bombs a year. William E. Burrows and Robert Windrem, on the other hand, assert in Critical
Mass that Israel actually had two bombs available for
use in 1967, and that Eshkol actually ordered them
armed in Israel's first nuclear alert during the Six Day War.
Israel began purchasing Krytrons in 1971. These are ultra
high speed electronic switching tubes that are "dual use",
having both industrial and nuclear weapons applications.
Considerable nuclear collaboration between Israel and South
Africa seems to have developed around 1967 and continued through
the 70s and 80s. During this period the racist Apartheid régime
in South Africa was Israel's primary supplier of uranium for
Dimona. An open question remains regarding what role Israel
had (if any) in the 22 September 1979 nuclear explosion in
the south Indian Ocean which is widely believed to be a South
Africa-Israel joint test.
New Reports of Israeli-South African
April 21, 1997
According to a report published in the Israeli daily paper
Ha'aretz on Sunday April 20, 1997. Israel assisted South Africa
in developing nuclear weapons in the early 1980s. The paper
based its report on interviews with South African officials,
including Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad, and retired
Gen. Constand Viljoen, who was South African chief
of staff from 1980-1985, the period during which nuclear weapon
development took place.
Speculation about such cooperation has been rife since the
detection of a suspected nuclear test over the South Atlantic
in 1979 (never tied to any country). Firm information about
at least indirect nuclear cooperation between the two countries
has been available since South Africa declassified its weapon
program in 1993. South Africa has previously revealed receiving
gram quantities of tritium, a critical material for advanced
weapons, from Israel but authoritative reports of direct collaboration
in weapon development has so far been lacking.
Pahad, however, told Ha'aretz that Israeli and South
African scientists cooperated "on very specific equipment"
designed for military use. "The nuclear issue was top secret
and many documents were destroyed," Pahad said. He
could not be reached by the Associated Press for further comment.
However, aides said that the deputy foreign minister has made
similar statements in the past.
Viljoen, was quoted as saying, "We wanted to get nuclear
knowledge from whoever we could, also from Israel."
Ha'aretz also cited past reports that Israel purchased 550
tons of uranium from South Africa for its own nuclear plant
in Dimona. In exchange, Israel supplied South Africa with
nuclear know-how and material to increase the power of nuclear
warheads, the newspaper said.
from Associated Press were used in preparing this article.)