The 'Prisoner X' affair was sensitive enough for Israel to use all of its censorship tools at once: the military censor, gag orders and the 'editors committee.' But was the effort by the Prime Minister's Office entirely about national security, or did it have to do with protecting those responsible for the mess? And what should the affair teach us about the ability to keep information from the public in this technological age? The affair known as the death of "Prisoner X" is becoming an interesting test case for the effect of new media on state secrets and the relations between…Read More... | 2 Comments
As talk of an imminent Israeli attack on Iran veers from frenzy to doubt, I outline the nine most important questions (and answers) regarding this operation: Are the Iranians willing and capable of developing a nuclear weapon? What will happen if they get it? Is a military strike necessary and effective, or harmful? Who is against and who is for the strike? 1. Does Iran intend to develop a nuclear weapon? Probably yes. Iran (unlike Israel) has signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) which bars all signatories from developing nuclear weapons, aside from the five permanent members of the UN Security…Read More... | 19 Comments
Last Monday August 6, the Israeli Disarmament Movement (RPM) held a protest against an Israeli strike on Iran on the anniversary of bombing of Hiroshima. That day 67 years ago in 1945, the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Another bomb was dropped on Nagasaki a few days later, ultimately destroying both cities and causing over 200,000 casualties. RPM is explicitly against an Israeli attack on Iran, and for solving the issues with discussions and not with violence. RPM also calls on Israel to participate in the conference on establishing a Middle East that is free of…Read More... | 66 Comments
Foreign sources debate from time to time the size of Israel's nuclear arsenal, which is estimated at anywhere between 100 and 400 warheads (*). In a recent interview with Time, ex-president Jimmy Carter - who has read a few intelligence reports over the course his life - said that Israel has around 300 nukes. Asked by the magazine "What do you think it means that Iran seems to have its first nuclear fuel rod?" Carter answers: Well, of course, the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they're not going to manufacture nuclear weapons. If they…Read More... | 4 Comments
The whole world knows the Mossad was likely behind the latest killing of an Iranian atomic scientist; the Iranians are swearing revenge, and nobody in Israel sounds bothered. Vibrant democracy, huh? Not one peep has been heard from any Israeli journalist or politician or public figure of any kind against this latest assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, which everyone on earth understands was probably carried out by the Mossad. (The only other possible suspect, the U.S., denounced the killing as "provocative and dangerous." On the previous day, Israeli military chief Benny Gantz told the Knesset that 2012 would see more of these "events that happen…Read More... | 47 Comments
Mossad head dismisses thoughts of a military strike on Tehran's nuclear facility as "the most stupid idea I ever heard" and even Defense Minister Barak sounds less confrontational than ever Last summer, American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published a cover piece in the Atlantic which claimed that Israel all but made up its mind to attack the Iranian nuclear facilities if Tehran would not bring its nuclear program to an end. Goldberg also hinted that since such an attack is almost inevitable, it might be better if the US initiates it, due to its superior air power: …What is more likely,…Read More... | 4 Comments
The policy of nuclear opacity forbids Israelis from dealing with the very real danger of a nuclear catastrophe following a natural disaster. Will the earthquake in Japan change that? One of the gravest fears following the earthquake which took place near the Japanese coastline this Friday was a meltdown at the at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, located some 250km north of Tokyo. Recent reports claimed that the situation in the reactor was under control, but according an AP story, radiation near the plant was 1,000 times higher than usual. One could only imagine the devastating effect of a Chernobyl-like…Read More...
On Dr. Avner Cohen's new book, "The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb" My featured story about Dr. Avner Cohen's new book on Israel's nuclear policy was published today in Haaretz. In his book, Dr. Cohen discusses the opacity policy – the Israeli-American understanding the Israel "shall not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East" – and concludes that currently the costs of this policy outweigh its benefits. Israel, argues Cohen, should be more open about its nuclear program. What's interesting in Dr. Cohen book is his determination to examine the nuclear policy not only…Read More...
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