Oh the Joys of Dimona!
The subtitle of this post might be the same as the subtitle of the film, Dr. Strangelove: “How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb.” Dimona’s bombs, that is.
In the past year, the Israeli Atomic Energy Agency launched a website dedicated to extolling the virtues of its Dimona. Not the place itself, which is a bit of a backwater company town devoted to the community’s main (perhaps only) industry. But to Israel’s plutonium reactor around which the town coalesced. That’s the reactor that churned out its first nuclear weapon around 1970 just in time for Moshe Dayan to suggest it should be used as a warning shot during the 1973 War when the fighting was going badly for Israel in the initial stages. It’s the same reactor which churned out another 200 or so nuclear weapons since then, making Israel the most dangerous–and so far, the only–nuclear power in the region.
This report on the world nuclear arsenal indicates Israel has only 80 nuclear weapons. But it adds that Israel is testing a new generation of ballistic missile, which is a substantial escalation of the regional nuclear arms race.
Dimona is also the same reactor which has poisoned hundreds or even thousands of workers who’ve died of various cancers. The same one which has poisoned the water in the plant’s vicinity. None of which may be reported openly by the Israeli press.
But if you examine the website you wouldn’t know any of this. From the “History” page, you wouldn’t know Dimona produced nuclear weapons at all; which is the main, indeed only reason it exists. You’d see bright shiny faces; the pretty blond locks of a female white-coated scientist presumably seeking a cure for cancer. Or the delicate toes of a baby held in the firm, supporting hands of an adult under the caption: “a secure, responsible place of work.” You’d see flowers. You’d see copy that reads like a Hallmark greeting card. Copy which extols Dimona’s mission as a “matter of national social responsibility.” That is, the authors of this tripe would have you believe that the production of nuclear weapons in Dimona is done in a manner that is environmentally responsible. This is real Alice in Wonderland stuff. Where words mean what the liar speaking them wants them to mean, “nothing more, nothing less.” It’s something like extolling Alamagordo or Auschwitz as environmental sanctuaries.
The website’s About page is titled: “Vision and Values, a Social Responsibility.” It continues: “In recent years the values of the Negev Center for Nuclear Have Been Articulated Anew.” Those values include the reactor staff volunteering in various projects to make their communities better places. Not a single word about the mass destruction Dimona’s products are capable or raining down on the world.
The launch of the website is in itself interesting. It indicates that some bureaucrats running the nuclear program felt it was important to join the modern age and feature a website to promote Dimona. That’s a break from six decades of total opacity regarding the nuclear program. Six decades of lies and denial regarding the purpose of the reactor. Avner Cohen notes in his recent Haaretz op-ed that Israel’s nuclear program isn’t even ratified under law. Rather, it exists in a netherworld called “residual powers.” This means the government may engage in any activity which the law doesn’t preclude it from doing.
Though on the surface, the new website does mark a break from the past, in reality the change is little more than cosmetic. Little has changed. Israel and the website still live in a state of denial. Israel can’t even admit in its website what the real purpose of this place is. … Full article