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May 27, 1983 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-05-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Sabra Discusses 'Israeli Nuclear Deterrence'

By EZEKIEL LEIKIN

When a sixth-generation
Sabra with impressive aca-
demic credentials chooses to
delve into a subject as
timely as nuclear deterr-
ence and strategy the result
is a blend of talmudic "pil-
pul" superimposed upon a
20th Century scientific
script.
Shai Feldman's study,
"Israeli Nuclear Deterr-
ence," (Columbia Univer-
sity Press), 'offers no drama-
tic revelations. The author
concedes that he has no
first-hand knowledge
whether Israel possesses
nuclear weapons "in the
basement," i.e. produced
and ready for use, but kept
under wraps.
The thrust of his argu-
ment is that if Israel does
indeed have that weapon it
should assume a posture" of
overt nuclear deterrence by
publicly and unmistakable
announcing that fact to all
and sundry.
"The strategy's pur-
pose," he says, "would be
to deter most Arab states
from pursuing most
forms of violence against
Israel by letting them
know that she (Israel)

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possesses the means for
devastating punish-
ment."
The author hastens to add
that the proposed changes
in Israel's strategy implicit
in his book are examined
from a "partisan viewpoint
— Israel's."
The study is based on
three central premises:
• Will, a nuclear posture
deter Arab states from chal-
lenging Israel's survival
and ipso facto insure her se-
curity?
• Will it prevent or reduce
the levels of warfare and
contribute to peaceful
coexistence?
• What form of nuclear
strategy should Israel adopt
to exact the highest reward:
peace and security?
The study does not
purport to recommend a
specific strategy of de-
terrence. It merely
suggests that if and when
Israel chooses to apply
the nuclear option, such
option should be overt
and explicit to forestall
miscalculation by a
potential adversary.
"Nuclear deterrence," the.
author claims, "allows the
delivery of open threats,
which can be unmistakable
and clear enough to prevent
misperception."
These theoretical conjec-
tures are presumably b-ased
on the premise that Israel's
perennial foes, the Arabs,
will evaluate their military
options logically and ra-
tionally, a presumption that
may require other volumin-
ous studies to substantiate.
The author's claim to parti-
sanship on Israel's side may
be seriously challenged
once he makes a prognosis,

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which — to this reviewer at
least — seems hardly "sci-
entific."
Thus, having expounded
at great length on the merits
of a. strategy, speculates
that "Israel is un-
likely to deter Arab efforts
to regain some of the ter-
ritories she has occupied
since the June 1967 war."
The reason: "Her neighbors
see these territories as their
own, while Israel lacks a na-
tional consensus on the
question of Israeli sover-
eignty over these ter-
ritories."
One can argue persua-
sively, in rebuttal, that
the Arabs' "national con-
sensus," as reflected in
their public utterances,'
press and literature, - is
rooted in the belief that,
regardless of her size, Is-
rael is an alien usurper in
the Islamic Middle East
and must therefore be
eliminated.
Convincing evidence can
also be adduced in support
of the proposition that fu-
ture Arab-Israeli hos-
tilities, if any, will be con-
ventional rather than nu-
clear; in which case, the re-
tention of the territories
presently held by Israel
will, according to credible
military and strategic
sources, be crucial to Is-
rael's security both in terms
of deterrence and effective
defense.

Equally unpersuasive is
the author's espbusal of an
Israeli policy of overt, dis-
closed and explicit nuclear
strategy. Israeli authorities
have consistently main-
tained that Israel will not be
the first to introduce nu-
clear weapons into the
region — a posture, which
despite its deliberate am-
biguity, may have had a re-
straining influence upon Is-
rael's unpredictable
neighbors in their mad rush
to acquire nuclear capabil-
ity.
Shai Feldman admits
that "a measure of risk is
involved in possible U.S.
and Soviet responses to
regional nuclearization,"
yet he downplays their im-
plications in explanations
which are less than convinc-
ing.
In summation, Shai
Feldman's book is a valu-
able, albeit exploratory and

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sponsored this July by the
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Cainp NCSY East, for
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For information and an
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10018.

tentative contribution to a
discussion likely to occupy
the attention of political
scientists and military
strategists for some time to
come._

Holds Chair

REHOVOT — Prof. Irun
Cohen has been appointed
the first incumbent of the
Helen and Morris Mauer-
berger Professorial Chair at
the Weizmann Institute of
Science.

Friday, May 21, 1983 21

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