Ha'aretz Removes Passage on PM's Threat To Use Warheads; Censor Refuses Comment

DNI Open Source Center

Thursday, August 9, 2012 T11:44:11Z

On 7 August, The Seventh Eye, a website in Hebrew covering media issues published by the Israel Democracy Institute, an independent and nonpartisan research institute, reported:

On 7 August, the English-language website +972 run by leftist journalist No'am Sheizaf at http://972mag.com, added that the incident referred to in the removed paragraph "revealed for the first time a few details of a little-known incident from 1998."

Sheizaf quotes Dr Avner Cohen, who he calls "the unofficial historian of the Israeli nuclear program," as referring to the incident in his book The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel's Bargain With the Bomb. Sheizaf quotes Cohen as saying that "while Netanyahu's alleged order couldn't have been discussed in the Israeli media (due to censorship issues)," it "did lead Ze'ev Schiff, Ha'aretz's veteran military correspondent, to publish a very unusual op-ed, titled 'The Red Button Law.'"

Sheizaf continues: "Schiff proposed legislating a law that would place checks on Israel's nuclear decision-making system. Schiff revealed that in connection with the crisis two weeks earlier over Iraq's program of weapons of mass destruction, some Israelis were more worried about Israel's 'extreme and unbalanced' possible action than about Iraq's President Saddam Hussein's possible first strike.

"Schiff, who couldn't describe the issue at hand directly, wrote his piece in coded language, intended for the security establishment and not the average reader. Around the same time, another very well-connected Israeli journalist, Nahum Barne'a, also published an article in which he expressed concern over the judgment of the Israeli prime minister when it comes to weapons of mass destruction."

Source: Open Source Center