Israel's nuclear weapons

In a Nutshell:

It is believed that Israel has built up to 200 nuclear warheads since the late 1960s.

In 1970, then-U.S. President, Richard Nixon agreed to accept Israel's nuclear status as long as Israel vowed to keep it a secret.

Advantages of ambiguity

  • The belief that Israel possessed nuclear weapons deterred attacks from neighboring countries: for example, stopping Iraq from filling its Scud Missiles with chemical or biological agents during the Gulf War. 

  • With no formal acknowledgement, Israel could skirt internationally imposed nuclear oversights

  • and could avoid a nuclear proliferation race with the countries in the region.

Consequences of disclosure of Israel's nuclear status.

  • If Israel is formally declared a nuclear nation there will certainly be calls from other countries in the region for the dismantlement of Israel's nuclear warheads


  • the disclosure could also provide an excuse for neighboring countries (especially Iran) to develop their own nuclear weapons.







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