'Israel and the Bomb' : About the Documents

About the Documents

The book's novelty lies in its extraordinary sources, both archival and human. During the ten years of work I spent weeks researching in archives and private collections in Israel, the United States and Norway. Throughout the course of this search I surveyed about million documents. Many of the documents cited were recently declassified and most never before cited.

Some of the documents were obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests submitted in the last seven years. As of the launching this site, October 1998, most of these requests are still pending. If and once these documents become available, they will be added to this collection.

Notwithstanding the new archival material, there are still serious archival constraints regarding research into Israel's nuclear history. Without access to the classified Israeli documents, the most critical evidence on the Israeli decision-making process is still lacking. Given these limitations the book focuses primarily on the politics and diplomacy regarding Israel's nuclear program, not on Israel's decision-making process.

So, how much did the United States know about Israel's nuclear activities? How much was there an American interest to know? Who in the US government knew what? What did Israel tell the United States? How did the two countries communicate and interact over this most sensitive issue? There is now enough archival material to start reconstructing the story of Israel and the bomb and answer, in part, these questions.

The documents in this collection are divided into six thematic groups (click on a group below to go to its list of documents and to view document images):

While I was engaged in doing the archival research I was often reminded that to understand such a sensitive subject matter documents are not enough. There was much material-often the most important material was never put in writing; it could only be recollected and retold by the people involved. In order to get a "feel" for this I conducted some 150 interviews with key individuals in Israel, the United States and France. Several of these interviews were quite extensive, spanning the course of several days.

  • Archival sources

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