Israeli Officials Concerned About Iranian Attack on Dimona Nuclear Reactor

View of the nuclear reactor in Dimona, southern Israel. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Both Hezbollah and Iran have missiles that can reach virtually anywhere in Israel, but as long as the current geopolitical situation holds – the “cold war” between Israel and Iran, along with its Lebanese lackey – an all-out missile attack is not expected, security officials say. What could happen, however, is an Iranian or Hezbollah attack on a “high-value” target – and for Iran, one of the highest value targets in Israel would be its nuclear reactor in Dimona. As a result, Ha’aretz reported Thursday, Israel Atomic Energy Commission has undertaken to fortify and strengthen the Dimona facility, as well as a smaller reactor in Nachal Soreq in central Israel.

According to the report, the Commission believes that such a scenario is the top danger to the facilities today, and in recent months has even run several field simulations and exercises involving a successful attack on the reactors. The exercises involved evacuating hundreds of employees from the compromised facilities, as well as dealing with the aftermath of the potential outcome of an attack, such as preventing the spread of radioactive material.

The reactors, especially the main Dimona facility, are high on the list of Iran’s targets in Israel. A successful attack on Dimona would be a major accomplishment for Iran and Hezbollah, showing that they can compromise the most secure facilities in Israel – but it would not cause the destruction a major war could, the report quoted officials on the Commission as saying.

In addition, the Iranians feel justified in knocking out Israel’s nuclear capabilities, as Israel has sought to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. While the effect on Israelis would be minimal, the shock to the country’s self-confidence would be huge – and would greatly shake up the political and social structure in the country, the officials said. Therefore, defending the facilities from attack is a major priority.