Israel’s Nuclear Environment

Israel’s involvement in nuclear weaponry, whilst recognized for many years, has certainly been brought to the fore by the Vanunu affair. Yet even before Vanunu’s act of apparent treachery, a small but growing number of Israeli citizens had pressed apprehension at the intention of the government to use nuclear energy for generating electricity.

Since 1981, Herschell and Shirley Benyamin we run the Israeli Agency for Nuclear Information from their avocado farm at Karkur. Their concern arose out of public apathy and ignorance well as the general absence of public debate pout the use of nuclear energy in Israel. The Binyamins and like-minded people felt that the numerous non-nuclear alternatives for generating electricity had not been thoroughly examined and at no final decision in favour of nuclear power should be taken without a genuine public debate. In a leaflet, they remark that “nuclear reactor generators may pose a serious hazard to the health id the well-being of those who live within even considerable distance of the site of the reactor. . . their presence could create an extremely inviting target for terrorist activity and for military action”. Chernobyl changed public perceptions about the correctness of constructing nuclear reactors. Even e Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, encompassing some 500,000 citizens, may now investigate the problem of potential nuclear pollution.

The Israeli Agency for Nuclear Information has started to produce a regular bulletin, edited by the science writer D’vora Ben Shaul, which analyzes relevant and related problems. Contacts already exist between the Agency and Greenpeace; experts from the United States and Britain will be visiting Israel in the spring and early summer to speak about nuclear energy.

Jewish Quarterly Spring 1987

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