This chapter considers how one might treat Israel's nuclear posture, given that it is a posture comprising capabilities that have never been confirmed. Israel is the world's oldest closet nuclear state. For more than forty years it has neither confirmed nor denied its possession of nuclear weapons, and has vowed not to be the first to “introduce” nuclear weapons into the Middle East. But it has circulated enough credible rumors and hints that it does possess a nuclear weapons capability to lead most of the world to believe that Israel was the world's sixth nuclear power. Based on incredible access to Israeli officials and declassified U.S. documents, this chapter reveals the most authoritative history of Israel's nuclear program. Drawing on previous works on the subject, this chapter fits Israel's nuclear posture into the broader comparative typology.
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