By Shalom Yerushalmi
"The Americans do not interfere with other countries' nuclear development. They are not going to bomb someone else's reactor... Netanyahu should have said: 'We're not willing for Iran to have nuclear weapons,' and then should've bombed without talking, like Begin did..."
Translated by Viktoria LymarEdited by Steven Stenzler
4 April 2013
The following is an abstract from a larger original article.
- - - - -
Last week, we published here harsh the remarks of security sources against the ceremony and around the harmony apparently created here at the time of Obama's visit. The officials, who are at the forefront of the struggle against Iran, claimed that "President Obama and his advisers made a school for the Prime Minister Netanyahu. They bought us with honeyed words and demonstrations of friendship, but managed to evade a commitment to attack Iran. The President scattered sand in the eyes and we'll reap a storm," they said.
Professor Arie Lavie, of the New York Institute of Technology, read the comments, and agreed with every word. "The Americans do not interfere with [other] countries' nuclear development," he says. "They're not going to bomb someone else's reactor. They have never ever done it, not even in North Korea. They don't see it as an act of war. From their standpoint, this is not about a declaration of war on the United States. One should understand this issue once and for all."
Professor Lavie, 75 years old, understands this point very well. He was head of missiles and rockets in the [Israeli] Defense Ministry, and later the chief scientist in the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Credit goes to him for many developments of the Israeli military industry, especially the Gabriel cruise missile he initiated and built. In 1959, Lavie wrote the book "Missiles and Atomic Weapons [The Weaponry Revolution in Our Time]", with Prof. Shimon Yiftah, who was head of weapons research and development in the IDF* and ran the Dimona [nuclear] reactor.
Professor Lavie's conclusions from Obama's visit are clear. "The Americans are not going to attack, and neither are we going to strike the reactor in Iran," he rules. "We should have done it, but that didn't happen. The chatter of the Prime Minister and ministers over here indicates that we won't attack, for the one who attacks doesn't talk. Netanyahu should have said: 'We're not willing for Iran to have nuclear weapons,' and then should've bombed without talking, just like Menachem Begin who had decided to bomb the Iraqi reactor without much talk. Begin, by the way, also knew that the Americans wouldn't attack for us."
To Open the Warehouses
Prime Minister Begin decided to strike the Osirak reactor in Iraq on June 7, 1981. Four Israeli fighter jets reached the reactor's core, 17 kilometers south of Baghdad, and left no trace of it. Professor Lavie was a party to one of the most secret deliberations that preceded that raid. "On June 5, Menachem Begin summoned Prof. Shimon Yiftah, Prof. Yuval Ne'eman, who was head of the Atomic Energy Commission; Eli Zeira, who was head of the Military Intelligence Directorate [Aman] during the Yom Kippur War, and me. Begin wanted to know what would happen if the Iraqis assault the Dimona reactor with missiles, whether there would be radioactive radiation and how many casualties this event would entail."
"We reassured Begin immediately," shares Lavie. "We told him that unless the missile hits the core of the reactor, there would be no radiation – and the prospect of that happening is zero. If the missile hits, God forbid, in the surroundings, there will be dead – that's obvious. What we did in Iraq and Syria was the only way to deal a significant blow, meaning a strike on the nuclear reactors by planes that would launch laser-guided missiles. Remotely fired missiles won't do the job."
"The situation is no different today," adds Professor Lavie. "Even if we would strike Iran, their chance to hurt Dimona is extremely small. I assume they will shoot many missiles in the event of an attack, but it can be overcome. What will happen if, God forbid, they harm the reactor? That which happened in Japan after the tsunami. The reactors there leaked, and they have much larger nuclear reactors than what we have. We've seen that it's a dangerous story involving fatalities."
Professor Lavie is well familiar with the American system of considerations. He lives in New York and in Israel, too, and is well connected to the technological establishment in the United States. Since concluding that we have missed the offensive on Iran, and that Iran will have nuclear weapons within a year, he's embarking now on writing his new book "Atomic Weapons in the Middle East," which is about how to cope with the new reality being created before our eyes.
"In the case of nuclear weaponization of Iran, there will start an unrestrained arms race here," says Lavie. "We will develop sophisticated weapons, primarily missiles with a range of 300-400 km. We'll develop a new generation of air-to-air missiles. There's no limit. We're going to need to tell Iran that if they dare to assault us, we will demolish them."
- - - - -
Original Hebrew article: Yair Lapid's Status: Paying the Bill
Image credit: Haaretz
* Israel Defense Forces, lit. "Defensive Army for Israel"