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Israel and the Bomb Paperback – October 15, 1999
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A scholarly treatise that includes over 1,200 footnotes, yet reads like a novel.... [Cohen] analyzes in rich detail how this policy of 'nuclear opacity' evolved and what made it possible.(Lawrence Kolb New York Times Book Review)
Israel and the Bomb should be required reading for those interested in nuclear issues in general and in the complexities of the American-Israeli relationship in particular. For American decision makers, the book should serve as an invaluable case-study of how not to deal with future instances of nuclear proliferation(Michael Rubner Middle East Policy)
This important volume deserves the attention of Middle East scholars and students of foreign policy, nuclear proliferation, and Israeli politics.(A.R. Norton Choice)
Cohen's work will necessitate the rewriting of Israel's history, wars, international relations, domestic political crises, economy, psychology, national pride--everything will have to be viewed in a different light.(Tom Segev Ha'aretz)
For anyone interested in the never-ending struggles in the Middle East and life on the edge in the nuclear age, this book is a must-read.(Miami Herald)
A compelling and comprehensive account of the development of what he calls Israel's doctrine of 'nuclear opacity.'(Paul C. Warnke, former Assistant Secretary of Defense)
Cohen's book hits nations sensitivity.(Dan Ephron Washington Times)
... Avner Cohen's book stands in a class of its own. It is the first scholarly study of the history of this project, it is richly documented, and it unveils some of the major mysteries surrounding events by tapping a large body of previously untouched sources.... It can only be assumed that when this national mood of 'nuclear' ignorance changes, Cohen's book will serve as a solid foundation for this debate.(Uri Bar-Joseph Jewish History)
Cohen has produced another rich historical narrative that functions as a readily accessible page-turner.(Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs)
This impeccably documented history of the first two decades of the Israeli nuclear program illuminates the complex domestic and international forces that shaped the activity and gives the reader fascinating insight into the thinking of Israeli, French, and U.S. leaders on the uniquely sensitive subject that only a few participants were fully aware of at the time.(Spurgeon Keeny, President and Executive Director, The Arms Control Association)
This is an extraordinarily important book. Cohen has produced an amazing piece of historical scholarship on a subject deliberately shrouded in clouds of misdirection, for legitimate raisons d'etat, by both Israeli and American governments.(Samuel W. Lewis, U.S. Ambassador to Israel (1977-1985))
Cohen lays out as fully as now possible the intricate interplay of domestic politics in Tel Aviv/Jerusalem, Paris, and Washington with the diplomatic interaction of the three countries, formal and informal, that shaped the path of Israel's nuclear program. An unmatched and indispensable contribution to understanding our nuclear age, the lessons of Israel and the Bomb have renewed salience in the context of the movement of more nations into the nuclear club.(Carl Kaysen, former deputy national security advisor to JFK)
More About the Author
After undergraduate study at Tel Aviv University in Philosophy and History (1975), I earned his M.A. in Philosophy at York University (1977) and Ph.D. from the Committee on History of Culture of the University of Chicago (1981). I was a member of the philosophy department at Tel Aviv University from 1983 to 1991 and have held various visiting academic positions at a number of American universities. In 2005 I was the Forchheimer Visiting Professor at the Hebrew University. I am now an adjunct professor at the Monterey Institute of International Studies which has become in 2010 the graduate school of Middlebury College,
I was awarded twice the research and writing award of the MacArthur Foundation (1990, 2004). In 2007-08 and 1997-98 I was a Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). I was was co-director of the Project on Nuclear Arms Control in the Middle East at the Security Studies Program at MIT for five years (1990-95).
I am the co-editor (with Stephen Lee) of Nuclear Weapons and the Future of Humanity (Rowman & Allanheld, 1986), The Institution of Philosophy (Open Court, 1989), and the author of The Nuclear Age as Moral History (in Hebrew, 1989. My most recognized book, Israel and the Bomb, was published in 1998 in its English version and in 2000 in its Hebrew version. The Worst Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain with the Bomb, which came out this month by Columbia University Press is my most recent book
I have published dozens of articles and chapters in academic journals and books, as well as over a hundred of op-ed pieces in major newspapers in the United States and Israel.
Top Customer Reviews
Avner Cohen's "Israel and the Bomb" is such a book, and, despite some structural flaws it is a well written one. The main focus is not really Israel's Weapons of Mass Destruction, but Israel's nuclear policies, particularly vis a vis the United States. This is the story of Israel's responds to US pressure with two similar but distinct strategies, which Cohen designates "Ambiguity" and "Opacity".
In late 1960, the US government came to realize that Israel was constructing in Dimona a large scale nuclear reactor. The uncovering of that Israeli state secret led to various Israeli announcements that Israel had no intention of building Nuclear WMDs. On the 21st of December, 3 days after a New York Times front page story about Israel's Reactor in Dimona, David Ben Gurion made what is still the only Prime Ministerial speech in the Knesset (Israel's parliament) about its Nuclear Policies, stating that the Reactor is meant for peaceful uses only (p.128).
The Eisenhower administration seemed initially unwilling to pressure Israel about its nuclear facilities, but following the exposure it did demand answers about Israel's plans. In a meeting with US Ambassador Ogden R Reid, David Ben Gurion stated that the Plutonium from the reactor will be returned to the manufacturing country, that Israel will allow visits of scientists from friendly countries in the reactor, but not international inspections, and that Israel did not plan to construct a third nuclear reactor. He also denied any intentions to construct a nuclear bomb (pp. 130-133).
When John F.Read more ›
But this work is interesting for the description of the insidious tactics of 'opacity' in the public discourse of Israel on the subject, that is, the engineered lack of discourse. We invade Iraq to nix the nukes, while Israel simply slipped into half-invisible mode. That is changing now, and the author ponders the future here. Quo vadis?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book describes in detail how Israel developed the bomb with assistance from France. It also explains the U.S. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Mark O'Connor
Just read the epilogue, the book is an endless run after your tail. It does not say anything new.
But, if you have insomnia, this book will put you to sleep!
Informative and interesting the book is covering a very significant period of Israel early years with quality research and insightPublished 19 months ago by Shimon Topor
When I received it, I was in hospital, which I leave yesterday.
My comments in an other two weeks
This book is easily the most well-researched on its subject and provides for very revealing information. Read morePublished on June 9, 2011 by J. Smallridge
I am not certain that this book should have been written.
It was obviously written against the wishes of the Israeli Defense Establishment. Read more
Its the best book I have seen on this subject. It goes over Israel building of the bomb from the mid 50 to the 70's purely from a political level. Read morePublished on July 16, 2000