Avner Cohen born is a writer, historian, and professor, and is well known for his works on Israel's nuclear history and strategic policy. Cohen grew up in Ramat HaSharon. He received a B. He then studied at York University where he received an M. After these studies he embarked on an academic career, starting by teaching and lecturing at Washington University and Ben-Gurion University before returning to Tel Aviv University in to join the department of philosophy.
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That debate occurred everywhere but in Israel. The Israeli news media were all over the Vanunu story: his defection and treason, his conversion to Christianity and his seduction and capture by a Mossad agent code-named Cindy. They did not need much convincing. Weeks later a young Israeli philosopher named Avner Cohen wrote an article for The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists expressing wonder that the global nuclear debate found no echo in Israel.
Little seems to have changed in the quarter-century since. And Mr. Cohen is still amazed. Cohen supports its decision to build and maintain the bomb. But he says that refusing to acknowledge this arsenal or foster internal discussion about it is now counterproductive.
Cohen says the government has not said a word publicly on the topic since , when Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion described Dimona as a megawatt research reactor for peaceful purposes.
The goal was always to build a bomb and, remarkably, given how weak Israel was at the time, and how opposed the major powers were, it did so with impressive dispatch. Beginning its quest in the mids, Israel had crossed the nuclear threshold by the Arab-Israeli war. Ever since, it has performed an odd dance in which it vows not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East, while not fighting the useful belief that it has them.
Its military doctrine essentially ignores Dimona. Conventional wisdom asserts that it persuaded President Anwar Sadat of Egypt to come to Jerusalem in and negotiate a peace treaty. He argues that the bomb represents for the Jewish people the link between shoah and tekumah, that is between the Nazi holocaust and national revival through the creation of the State of Israel.
Cohen views the development of the bomb as wise and considers the early years of opacity successful. Mostly Mr. Cohen wants a level of accountability in a system that has little.
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Israel and the Bomb
Until now, there has been no detailed account of Israel's nuclear history. Previous treatments of the subject relied heavily on rumors, leaks, and journalistic speculations. But with Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen has forged an interpretive political history that draws on thousands of American and Israeli government documents -- most of them recently declassified and never before cited -- and more than one hundred interviews with key individuals who played important roles in this story. Cohen reveals that Israel crossed the nuclear weapons threshold on the eve of the Six-Day War, yet it remains ambiguous about its nuclear capability to this day. What made this posture of "opacity" possible, and how did it evolve?
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Add to Cart. Until now, there has been no detailed account of Israel's nuclear history. Previous treatments of the subject relied heavily on rumors, leaks, and journalistic speculations. But with Israel and the Bomb, Avner Cohen has forged an interpretive political history that draws on thousands of American and Israeli government documents—most of them recently declassified and never before cited—and more than one hundred interviews with key individuals who played important roles in this story.
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Vague, Opaque and Ambiguous: Israel’s Hush-Hush Nuclear Policy
In the early days it took more than a little chuzpa to believe that tiny Israel could launch a nuclear program, but for a state born out of the Holocaust and surrounded by the hostile Arab world, not to do so would have been irresponsible. David Ben Gurion, Israel's first prime minister, entertained the vision early on, but until the mids it was no more than a hope for the future. In , however, following his return to power and the establishment of special relations with France, sufficient resources became available to initiate a national nuclear project. Three men set the nuclear project in motion: the nation's political leader, his chief scientist, and his chief executive officer.
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Avner Cohen, Israel and the Bomb