Interviews by Avner Cohen
Research conducted by Avner Cohen for his book ''Israel and the Bomb,'' including interviews with key policymakers and scientists from Israel, the United States, and France that shed new light on the development of the Israeli nuclear program. (Image, US reconnaissance satellite photo of Negev Nuclear Research Center at Dimona, 1968)
September 02, 1992
Summary of Interview with Avraham Hermoni by Avner Cohen
Avraham Hermoni served as senior technical director of the Israeli nuclear weapons program. This summary reflects the combined content of two long interviews Avner Cohen conducted with Hermoni in August and September 1992. This transcript is not the taped interview’s raw minutes; rather, it is Hermoni’s own edited and approved account of the interview, restructured by him in the form of twelve questions and answers, based upon the raw transcript of the original taped interview. Hermoni recounts the relationship between the Israeli government, the IDF, and the Weapons Development Authority (RAFAEL) during the development of Israel's nuclear capability.
June 15, 1993
Interview with Bertrand Goldschmidt by Avner Cohen
Transcript of Avner Cohen's 1993 interview with Dr. Bertrand Goldschmidt. Goldschmidt was a leading French nuclear scientist who helped develop the PUREX plutonium extraction technique. In this interview, Goldschmidt explains the background of the French role in constructing the Dimona nuclear facility.
June 17, 1993
Interview with André Finkelstein by Avner Cohen
Transcript of Avner Cohen's 1993 interview with André Finkelstein. Finkelstein, deputy director of the IAEA and a ranking official within the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), discusses Franco-Israeli nuclear technology exchange and collaboration in this 1993 interview.
January 10, 1994
Interview with Myer 'Mike' Feldman by Avner Cohen
Transcript of interview by Avner Cohen with senior Kennedy advisor Myer "Mike" Feldman. Myer Feldman, close aide to JFK and special liason to Israel, discusses the negotiations between the US and Israel regarding the Non-Proliferation treaty in this 1994 interview.
January 20, 1994
Phone Interview with Edwin Kintner by Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller
Transcript of a phone interview with Edwin Kintner by Avner Cohen and Marvin Miller. Edwin Kintner (1920-2010) was a distinguished nuclear engineer and senior staff member of the US Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) through the 1960s and 70s who participated in at least two US inspection teams sent to the Dimona nuclear facility. Kintner recounts how thoroughly he and his partners searched the Dimona site for evidence of plutonium reprocessing activities and expresses shock upon learning that he and his team had been fooled all along.
Interview with Arnan 'Sini' Azaryahu by Avner Cohen
Transcript of interview by Avner Cohen with long-term Israeli government insider Arnan "Sini" Azaryahu, who served as a trusted aide and confidant to Minister Yisrael Galili, a close ally and advisor to Israeli prime minister Gold Meir. In this interview, Sini recounts a tense meeting held in Meir's office during the height of the 1973 Yom Kippur war, when Meir overruled a request from Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to prepare Israel’s nuclear arsenal for a demonstration blast.
Elie Geisler, 'The Israeli Nuclear Drama of May 1967: A Personal Testimony'
Elie Geisler received training as a radiation-safety officer while serving as a solider at Dimona from 1964 to 1966. As the crisis escalated in late May 1967, Geisler was summoned to meet the head of the Minhal Madaii—the secret scientific administration in charge of the nuclear project—who gave him a special assignment: guarding a radioactive “package” to be placed under heavy security. The following testimony was relayed to Avner Cohen through several interviews and follow-up conversations and email exchanges.