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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)

Popular Documents

January 2008

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.

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.


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.


Interview with Yitzhak 'Ya’tza' Ya’akov by Avner Cohen

Yitzhak Ya’acov (1926-2013), known his entire life by the nickname “Ya’tza,” was a Brigadier General in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in charge of weapons research and development (R&D). He was at the center of Israel’s first nuclear alert on the eve of the 1967 war.


Interview with Walt Rostow by Avner Cohen

Transcript of interview by Avner Cohen with Walt Rostow. Rostow served as national security advisor to US president Johnson. In this interview, Rostow discusses the US perspective on Israeli nuclear capability through the 1960s and 70s.