This Country's Nuclear Weapons Program Is the World's Biggest Open Secret

Kyle Mizokami

Kyle Mizokami

Security,

And that can only be one nation: Israel. 

This Country's Nuclear Weapons Program Is the World's Biggest Open Secret

Israel didn’t have long to wait for its first nuclear crisis. The 1973 Yom Kippur War saw Arab armies achieve strategic surprise, sending Israeli ground forces reeling in both in the Sinai desert and the Golan Heights. Israeli nuclear weapons were placed on alert and loaded onto Jericho I surface-to-surface missiles and F-4 Phantoms. Determined Israeli counteroffensives were able to turn the situation on both fronts around, and the weapons were not ultimately used.

In a private email leaked to the public in September of 2016, former secretary of state and retired U.S. Army general Colin Powell alluded to Israel having an arsenal of “200 nuclear weapons.” While this number appears to be an exaggeration, there is no doubt that Israel does have a small but powerful nuclear stockpile, spread out among its armed forces. Israeli nuclear weapons guard against everything from defeat in conventional warfare to serving to deter hostile states from launching nuclear, chemical and biological warfare attacks against the tiny country. Regardless, the goal is the same: to prevent the destruction of the Jewish state.

(This first appeared in 2017)

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