In the early 1950s, Israel secretly launched a project designed to achieve a nuclear option. Initially supported by France, this daring project stood to engineer a dramatic change in Israels strategic position vis-a-vis its neighboring Arab states and the wider international community. A nuclear program was driven by the firm conviction of David Ben-Gurion that Israels existence could be guaranteed only with the aid of such a deterrent. The ensuing nuclear defense strategy was upheld by successive Israeli governments. Adamantly opposed to Americas request to allow external supervision of its nuclear activity, Israel labored to avert a potentially disastrous rift with its one superpower ally. Israel's Nuclear Option recounts the dialogue and related diplomatic activity that took place during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations and the Ben-Gurion and Eshkol premierships. The intense and often difficult discussions, which pitted Israel's security concerns against the United States determined goal to stem nuclear proliferation, eventually produced a set of formal and informal strategic understandings regarding Israels nuclear deterrence.
Prof. Zaki Shalom is a senior researcher at the Ben-Gurion Research Institute, Ben-Gurion University and a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, Tel Aviv University. He has published widely on the Middle East, including Israels Nuclear Option.
Introduction - Neutralism in Retrospect: Definitions and Paradigms; Syrias Road to Independence: The Emergence of Pragmatic/Calculative Nationalist Neutralism; The Rise of 'Anti-Western Neutralism' in Post-Mandatory Syria; Neutralism in Practice: Syria and the Consolidation of the Arab-Asian Group; Communism, Syria, and Neutralist Trends; Syrias Rival Schools of Neutralism and the Road to Union; Nasserite 'Positive Neutralism' and the United Arab Republic; Conclusion - The Rise of the Neo-Bath and the Gradual Demise of Neutralism; Appendix - Modes of Practised Arab Neutralism; Index.