JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli government minister Michael Oren, a former ambassador to the United States, rejected a report that Israel was prepared to detonate a nuclear bomb in the Sinai to turn the tide of the 1967 war with its Arab neighbors if necessary.
The New York Times published a report on Saturday about the existence of the “doomsday” plan, based on an interview by leading Israeli nuclear scholar Avner Cohen with retired IDF Brig.-Gen. Itzhak Yaakov, who allegedly oversaw the plan.
Yaakov, who oversaw weapons development for the Israeli military, detailed the plan to Cohen in interviews in 1999 and 2000; he died in 2013 at the age of 87.
He said the plan was codenamed Shimshon, or Samson, the biblical hero of immense strength, who in a last burst of strength brought down a Philistine temple killing himself along with his enemies.
Oren, who wrote a comprehensive history of the Six Day War, responded to the Times report on Sunday, saying that thousands of declassified documents from the war do not support a plan to detonate a nuclear bomb in Egypt’s Sinai.
Israel maintains “nuclear ambiguity,” neither confirming nor denying that it has nuclear weapons.