In May 1967, days before the Six-Day War started, fearful of losing the war, Israel developed a ‘doomsday’ scenario to detonate an atomic bomb in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula as a warning to the Arabs.
Israel was hoping that detonated a nuclear bomb in the remote area will forcing Egypt to end the war or its allies countries to intervene, the New York Times reported Saturday.
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Israel secret plan for a worst case scenario revealed by former IDF Brig. Gen. Itzhak Yaakov, one of the founders of the IDF’s weapons development program, in an interview made in 2011.
NYT set to be published the full interview Monday, the day Israel marks the 50th anniversary of the war in which the smallest country in the Middle East defeated all its surrounding Arab armies in just six days.
That’s not the first time Yaakov reveals Israel was genuinely fearful ahead of the war and released Israel ‘s top secret. In 1999, 2001 interviews with and nuclear policy researcher Dr. Avner Cohen and to Yedioth Ahronoth journalist Dr. Ronen Bergman. Yaakov gave details of the plan he oversaw
Yaakov, who died in 2013 at age 87, was arrested on suspicion of “endangering national security” by exposing Israel’s atomic secrets to journalists and was tried and convicted of a lesser offense.
NYT citings conversation which was recorded at the time by Dr. Cohen and now turned over to the newspaper. “It was so natural,” Yaakov says in the recording, “You have an enemy, and he says that he is going to throw you into the sea, so you believe him. How can you stop him? You scare him. If you have something that can frighten him, you use it. The goal was to create a new situation on the ground, one that would force the vast powers to intervene or force the Egyptians to stop and say ‘wait, we didn’t prepare for this.'”
“The plan code-named “Shimshon,” (“Samson”), to be if activated by order of the prime minister and military chief of staff, the report said, to send a small paratrooper force to divert the Egyptian Army in the desert area.
“The plan, if activated by order of the prime minister and military chief of staff, was to send a small paratrooper force to divert the Egyptian Army in the desert area so that a team could lay preparations for the atomic blast,” the report said.
According to the report, “Two large helicopters were to land, deliver the nuclear device and then create a command post in a mountain creek or canyon. If the order came to detonate, the blinding flash and the mushroom cloud would have been seen throughout the Sinai and Negev deserts, and perhaps as far away as Cairo.”
In the recorded interview, Yaakov can be heard saying that he and his staff were afraid they wouldn’t survive the blast. Nevertheless, Yaakov believed Israel should have conducted the explosion anyway, even after winning the war within six days.
Should the explosion have happened, it would have been the first nuclear blast for military purposes since the United States dropped two atom bombs on Japan to force their surrender.
Similarly, the Americans originally planned something similar to what the Israelis had devised; detonating a nuclear device near Japan to frighten them into surrendering. However, the US eventually abandoned the idea after concluding it would not have been enough to end the war.
Yaakov added in the recorded interview that he and his team were afraid they might not survive the blast.