The Extent of Israel's Project

'Top secret' information is easily available on the internet.

Adi Armon
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Adi Armon

GlobalSecurity.org, which operates a website by that name, is one of many which describe Israel's nuclear facilities (in Hebrew, the information can be found on the Armageddon website and even on Wikipedia ). According to this site, the following facilities exist:

1. A missile plant in Be'er Yaakov, where ballistic Jericho missiles are manufactured.

2. The nuclear power plant in Dimona, which has a reactor for producing plutonium. Based on the testimony of former Dimona technician Mordechai Vanunu, the structure of the compound is divided into 10 "institutes," in which processes such as enriching uranium and separating plutonium are carried out.

3. A storage site for nuclear weapons in Ilabun.

4. The Rafael Advanced Defense Systems laboratories for the manufacture of nuclear weapons in Haifa.

5. The Israel Institute for Biological Research in Nes Tziona. According to the website, this is a center for the research and development of chemical and biological weapons.

6. The Israel Air Force base adjacent to Moshav Zacharia and Moshav Sdot Micha, west of Beit Shemesh. According to the website, there are nuclear missiles on the base, some ready for launching and some in storage.

7. A center for weapons assembly in Yodfat.

According to other foreign sources, Israel has three submarines (called Dolphins ) with the capacity for launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads. The submarines were manufactured in Germany and sent to Israel in the late 1990s. In 2006 it was reported that Israel had purchased two additional submarines; in January Haaretz reported that during a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the purchase of an additional submarine was discussed.

An article by the Associated Press, published in 2006 in The Washington Post, quoted Paul Beaver, a researcher of the Israeli nuclear program, who explained that the submarines are important because they give Israel the option of a significant "second strike" capacity, which will effectively cancel out the feasibility of a "first strike" against it. Journalist Michael Karpin, who in 2006 published a book in English called "The Bomb in the Basement," which discusses Israel's transformation into a nuclear power, explained that the submarines can operate for a long period of time while escaping a hit, as opposed to planes.

In May, the Sunday Times reported that the three submarines "which are equipped with cruise missiles" are expected to be sent to the Persian Gulf region.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative, established with the help of businessman Ted Turner, claims that in 2002 former senior officials in the U.S. defense establishment confirmed that in 2000 the U.S. Navy observed firing exercises from submarines carried out by Israel in the Indian Ocean, and that these submarines had the capacity of carrying missiles with nuclear warheads. According to the organization, Israel denied the report.

An aerial view of Israel's nuclear reactor in Dimona. Credit: (Archive)

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