Officially, Israel has never confirmed or denied possession of nuclear weapons. But in 1999, the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) concluded that Israel had produced approximately over 80 warheads and is estimated to have produced fissile material sufficient for 115 to 190 warheads.
In the following summarizing video blogpost there are explainations how Israel could develop a secret nuclear weapon program.
Truly a lot of open questions. And what was the Non-Proliferation Treaty up to again? And what was that about the nuclear threat in Middle East?
Fact is that in 1958 Israel built – with help of France – the Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city Dimona in the Negev Desert. The site capable of producing plutonium and processed uranium. After the US Intelligence Service realized what the site was really for, inspections by the IAEA were demanded. The Israeli government alloweded them – but with restrictions. Quite worthy to mention is the one that the inspections should be announced afore – so the sensible areas could be closed or hidden. Inspection units said their mission would be meaningless under such conditions.
In 1986 Mordechai Vanunu – a former technician from Dimona told the press evidence for the Israeli nuclear program. He was highjacked by Israeli spies after and brought – illegally back in the country where he was put in prison for treachery and espionage. For six weeks there was only denying from Israeli government for having done so and pretended to know nothing about Vanunu’s whereabouts, until he could give a secret message to journalists – written on his palm and pressed to the window of the police car he was carried in: “Vanunu M – was hijacked – in Rome ITL – 30.9.86 – came to Rome – by BA Fly 504”.
Transparency is different. And also bewildering: What has been learned througout the last century is that nuclear weapons are mainly about deterrence. As the effects of nuclear weapons are devastating to such an extent that no one really wants to use them, on has make known the possession of the capability of retaliation. So in the words of Dr.Strangelove again after he explains the rationale of the Doomsday machine: “The whole point of the doomsday machine is lost.. if you keep it a secret!”
Israel seems to use a next level of deterrence: being incalculable.