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To Disclose or Not to Disclose: The Impact of Nuclear Ambiguity on Israeli Security

Guy Ziv

Keywords: DAVID BEN-GURION; DIMONA; NUCLEAR AMBIGUITY; NUCLEAR DETERRENCE; NUCLEAR PROLIFERATION; PEACE; SHIMON PERES

Abstract

This article argues that Israel's policy of nuclear ambiguity, which has recently come under fire due to unfolding events in the Middle East, has played a critical role in the Arab world's strategic calculus vis-à-vis Israel. It has convinced Arab leaders of Israel's military superiority, putting an end to their efforts to annihilate the Jewish state. At the same time, it has shielded them from public pressure to become nuclear powers themselves. Indeed, Arab leaders have, in practice, reconciled themselves to Israel's existence, creating the possibility for resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict through peace diplomacy. Israel would be mistaken, I argue, to abandon its doctrine of nuclear ambiguity, a move that could accelerate nuclear proliferation in the region, bring about a pre-emptive attack on Israel's nuclear facilities, and harm US-Israeli relations.

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