Israel Had Nuclear Device at the Ready in 1967 War

Device was to be detonated in Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Arab attackers.

June 5, 2017 2:25 pm
Report: Israel Had Nuclear Device at Ready to End Six-Day War
(© Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War of 1967, when Israel battled neighboring countries of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, and gained a foothold on lands that it has held (or occupied, depending on one’s interpretation) ever since.

Now, in a controversial report by The New York Times, evidence has surfaced suggesting Israel planned a nuclear threat if their Arab aggressors didn’t scale back their offensive. The top-secret “doomsday operation” would’ve been carried out on a mountain top on the Sinai Peninsula to “intimidate Egypt and surrounding Arab states—Syria, Iraq and Jordan—into backing off.”

The information was obtained by Avner Cohen, a scholar of Israeli history and global fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., from a single source: Itzhak Yaakov, a retired Israeli brigadier general, who had been in charge of Israel’s weapons program. As Yaakov reportedly told Cohen in a taped interview, “How can you stop (the enemy)?….You scare him. If you’ve got something you can scare him with, you scare him.”

Of course, Israel won the war, so the nuclear display never had to take place, but the new information shows the great lengths that Israel could have gone to win the war.

The Times‘ article hasn’t come without its own controversy, and Cohen has today published a first-person piece in Haaretz backing up his claim.

For more on the war, watch a clip from History Channel’s Battlefield Detectives documentary below.


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