Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, who during Yom Kippur War feared the "destruction of the temple," suggested the use of a nuclear option in a dramatic meeting on second day of war. This came to light in archived interviews carried out by Israeli nuclear researcher Professor Avner Cohen, Yedioth Ahronoth has revealed.
Avner Cohen's research reveals that Dayan pressed to have Israel's nuclear forces prepare for a nuclear power "demonstration," but Prime Minister Golda Meir and others at the Defense Ministry meeting in Tel Aviv rejected the idea, and no such action was taken. However, research shows that minor actions were taken relating to Israeli nuclear weapons in that war .
According to the testimony of Arnon 'Sini' Azaryahu, then a close adviser to Minister Yisrael Galili – one of the four who were present at that meeting – he waited for his boss outside the office of Meir on the morning or afternoon of October 7. Azaryahu, who gave testimony in a video interview to Avner Cohen, said that after the meeting Galili told him about the dramatic moments.
Galili said then to Sini that just before the end of the meeting, which dealt with the progress of the Syrian forces in the Golan Heights and the dispatch of the former Chief of Staff Haim Bar-Lev to examine the northern front – and after several senior participants had left the room, including former Chief of Staff David Elazar – Dayan turned to Golda Meir.
He asked her if she would agree allow the head of Israel's nuclear agency, Shalheveth Freier, to join the gathering of minds, which included Meir and three other ministers – Dayan, Galili and Yigal Alon. This was in order to discuss “displays of power” – a showing of the nuclear capabilities of Israel. Research says that it is not clear if the presentation was intended for the Americans, the Soviets or the Arabs.
According to Galili, who shared this with Azaryahu, Dayan did not ask this inner cabinet to approve the "displays of power.” However, he did ask Meir to authorize that nuclear agency head Freier could carry out necessary preparations for such a display, should it be needed, in order to shorten the timeframe from hours to minutes. In the end, the idea was rejected.
The full story will appear on Friday in Yedioth Ahronoth
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