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The nuclearization of the Middle East was initiated by Israel‘s nuclear efforts. Israel’s nuclear program dates back to the early years of the state. Apart from scientific research, the program is almost entirely military in nature. On the basis of a conversation with the current President Shimon Peres, the American journalist Seymour Hersh mentions 1952 as a critical year.
At that time, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion appears to have told a select group of ministers and officials that, in the long run, the only way to bridge the vast demographic, economic, and military gap between Israel and its Arab neighbours was to build nuclear weapons. Ben-Gurion susequently steered Israel’s nuclear project and in 1952 established the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC).
Fanack offers a special file on Iran’s and other Nuclear Programs in the region.