Documents declassified on Thursday revealed that on the eve of the Six-Day War in June 1967 Israeli leaders were extremely concerned about a possible Egyptian attack on the nuclear reactor in Dimona. The secret IDF archives were released to mark the 48th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which began June 5, 1967.
In high-echelon meetings that took place during the tense days of early June when war was imminent, then-Military Intelligence chief General Aharon Yariv briefed the others on Israeli vulnerability to an Egyptian “strike to destroy Dimona and airfields.”
Israeli had reportedly already succeeded in manufacturing nuclear weapons at the site, though the government has held to a policy of neither confirming nor denying the reports.
Then-commander of the Israeli Air Force, General Mordechai Hod revealed that Egyptian warplanes had conducted several reconnaissance missions over Eilat and another site which was censored by the archives, though believed to be the Dimona site.
B’chasdei Shamayim, such an Egyptian attack never came, as the Israeli air force destroyed the Egyptian planes on the ground in a pre-emptive strike.
The archives also detail the anguished deliberations over whether Israel could afford to wait any longer in the face of Egyptian provocations and mobilization for war.
No decision was taken at that meeting. But two days later Eshkol gave his impatient generals the order to go to war.