The Enigma of Opacity - Israel's Nuclear Weapons Program as a Field of Study

in Israel Studies Review
Author: Alan Dowty
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Research on Israeli nuclear weapons policy is seen as the classic case of conflict between security constraints and the academic ethos of openness. However, the 'ambiguity' of Israel's declared policy has eroded considerably over time, first to 'opacity' and now to simple non-acknowledgement. Furthermore, there have been vast changes in strategic circumstances: the initial rationale as a nuclear deterrent to conventional attack has been eclipsed by deterrence of other weapons of mass destruction. This is potentially a more promising platform for arms control agreements. The changes also call into question the need for the continued extension of censorship into academic research on the topic.