Israel's Nuclear Policy. Will it change because of Iran?

According to recent statements by its government, Israel has always maintained a firm commitment to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Israel’s Nuclear Deterrent: A Historical Approach

Since its founding in 1948, Israel has had a need to secure its borders against potential adversaries. In its early days, under the leadership of Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, the first geological studies of the Negev were carried out by the HEMED GIMMEL unit of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

During the 1960s, this interest translated into a partnership with the French aerospace company Dassault for the development of the Jericho ballistic missile program. Although France eventually withdrew from the project, Israel continued on its own, resulting in the two-stage, solid-fuel Jericho-1 missile.

During the Yom Kippur War in 1973, these missiles were on high alert, giving rise to theories about their potential nuclear weapons.

The range and development of the Jericho missile

The Jericho-1 could reach Egypt and Syria from the Negev thanks to its range of approximately 500 kilometers. With a length of 13.4 m, a diameter of 0.8 m and a total launch weight of 6,700 kg, this missile was designed to be launched from a vehicle or rail truck platform.

In addition, the Jericho could carry a payload of up to 650 kg, which, it is believed, could be equipped with a 450 kg high explosive warhead, a 20 kT nuclear warhead, or even a chemical warhead.

Over time, a second variant of the Jericho with a longer range has been developed. Although Israel officially maintains its nuclear ambiguity, the country is thought to possess a more advanced Jericho-3 ballistic missile.

The Begin Doctrine and the Future of Israel’s nuclear policy

Israel’s policy of nuclear ambiguity could change if Iran or another Middle Eastern country succeeded in acquiring nuclear weapons. In accordance with the country’s Begin Doctrine, the Israeli government maintains a policy of pre-emptive strikes to ensure that no hostile country can develop such weapons.

Considering that Iran is getting closer to reaching the nuclear threshold, it is likely that Israel’s nuclear opacity policy may undergo changes in the near future.

With its commitment to preventing the development of nuclear weapons in the region and the potential of its Jericho missile program, Israel continues to play a crucial role in the stability of the Middle East.

Israeli Nuclear Policy: A Balancing Game

Despite its policy of nuclear ambiguity, Israel has always maintained a determined and proactive approach to maintaining its security and that of the region. This balance between deterrence and a commitment to peace continues to be a fundamental part of its foreign policy.

Despite its complexities, this approach has allowed Israel to maintain its stability in an often volatile region. The future of its nuclear policy will depend, to a large extent, on how the situation in the Middle East evolves.

Therefore, Israel’s firm stance on the potential development of nuclear weapons in the region and its Jericho missile program will continue to be key factors in the balance of power in the Middle East.