Home ENGLISH ARTICLES C-Span: Mossad & Ben-Gurion killed…JFK – The Road To Dealey Plaza — How JFK’s Refusal To Allow Israel Nuclear Weapons Sealed His Death Warrant

C-Span: Mossad & Ben-Gurion killed…JFK – The Road To Dealey Plaza — How JFK’s Refusal To Allow Israel Nuclear Weapons Sealed His Death Warrant

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 Read first this publication by the state c…

C-Span: Mossad & Ben-Gurion killed…JFK – The Road To Dealey Plaza — How JFK’s Refusal To Allow Israel Nuclear Weapons Sealed His Death Warrant

Read first this publication by the state channel C-SPAN….

C-Span: Mossad and Ben-Gurion killed JFK

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Publication date 2015-08-05

Topics JFKJohn Fitzgerald KennedyassassinationMossadIsraelDavid Ben-GurionMartin SandlerMichael Collins PiperFinal Judgment

Language English

Martin Sandler on C-Span, 6th November 2013:

‘I’ll tell you one thing: I found articles — not tripped in publications but in very sophisticated publications — saying, ‘Forget Lyndon Johnson, forget the CIA, forget Fidel Castro—Mossad killed JFK because they were upset by what he had done to Ben-Gurion.’ So you see, we drop a few bombs like this in this book, unproven…’

The Letters of John F. Kennedy, by Martin Sandler, p. 333-341:

   ‘In March 1992, Representative Paul Findley of Illinois, wrote in the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs, “It is interesting. . . . to notice that in all the words written and uttered about the Kennedy assassination, Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, has never been mentioned.” Two years later in his book Final Judgment, author Michael Collins Piper actually accused Israel of the crimeOf all the conspiracy theories, it remains one of the most intriguing.

    What is indisputable is that, although it was kept out of the eye of both the Press and the Public, a bitter dispute had developped between Israeli prime minister David Ben-Gurion who believed that his nation’s survival depended on it attaining nuclear capability and Kennedy who was vehemently opposed to it. In May 1963, Kennedy wrote to Ben-Gurion explaining why he was convinced that Israel’s pursuit of nuclear weapons capability was a serious threat to world peace.


Michael Collins Piper’s book Final Judgment:





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The Road To Dealey Plaza — How JFK’s Refusal To Allow Israel Nuclear Weapons Sealed His Death Warrant

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The following article, “JFK And Israel’s Nuclear Program,” originally appeared on the website Eclectic Anecdotes. Extensive footnotes and sources, along with links, appear following the article.

JFK And Israel’s Nuclear Program

David Ben-Gurion wrote in 1948, “What Einstein, Oppenheimer and Teller — the three of them Jews — made for the United States could also be done by scientists in Israel for their own people.”[1] He met with all three of the physicists who worked on the Manhattan project at various times to discuss nuclear matters. Edward Teller would tell the Israeli scientist Yuval Ne’eman in 1967, speaking of Israel’s completion of the bomb, “I think that you are not idiots, and I am impressed by your high level, and I think that you have already finished, and the thing is now behind you. I do not think that the cat and mouse game with the Americans is healthy, and it will cause problems in the future, so I am going to tell the CIA of my impressions, and I’ll explain that it is justified on the background of the Six-Day War.”[2]

Enstein & Ben-Gurion

Ernst David Bergmann was the father of the Israeli bomb, whose scientific knowledge earned him the respect of many. Shimon Perez became administrator of the nuclear program by 1955, and he spoke of his success at the project: “Ben Gurion trusted me. Professor Bergmann worked with me with no reservations. In time, I was able to win the trust and confidence of the other scientists, engineers and senior personnel engaged in the project.”[3] Bergmann stressed that procuring an Israeli bomb would guarantee “that we shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter.”[4]

Andre Finkelstein, who served as the director general of the French Atomic Energy Commission, said that in 1958,

[w]hen de Gaulle came back to power he wasn’t so much against Israel but he wanted to make peace in Algeria so he had to make something to appease the Arabs and he said we have to stop that project [Dimona] immediately. The orders came from Paris, you have to get rid of all the personnel in your company…. The same day the Israelis started another company and took back all the same people to finish the project. Even under de Gaulle it could be done![5]

Continuing the Atoms for Peace program, the U.S. gifted Israel with a small research reactor with the explicit instructions to not use it for production of plutonium. The U.S. built reactor was situated in Nahal Soreq. Although HEU fuel was being produced at Nahal Soreq by 1961, this could not be used for nuclear weapons production because U.S. inspectors were constantly safeguarding it.[6]

Ernst David Bergmann

But Bergmann and other Israeli scientists immediately got to work upgrading it so as “to conduct more advanced experiments in plutonium separation,” according to a letter distributed amongst project officials.[7] The reactor was insufficient to meet their plutonium needs, so they approached the French for a new reactor in the Negev desert. Peres was responsible for a secret deal with France in 1956 for the country to supply Israel with “something like nuclear capacity.”[8] Due to the alliance between France and Israel during the Suez Crisis, French Prime Minister Guy Mollet said that France “owed” the nuclear bomb to Israel, since he felt that France had failed Israel in the conflict by withdrawing troops after being threatened by the Soviet Union.[9] Charles de Gaulle was not informed that the reactor would be used for nuclear weapons production.[10]

By late 1957, the Israelis and French working on the project decided that Dimona, a settlement in Negev, would be the site for the new reactor. “By the end of the 50s, there were 2,500 French citizens living in Dimona, transforming it from a village to a cosmopolitan town, complete with French lycées and streets full of Renaults, and yet the whole endeavour was conducted under a thick veil of secrecy.”[11] In 1959, American U-2 spy planes captured photos of the excavation occurring at Dimona. Eisenhower was immediately notified, but he ignored the warnings. Dino Brugioni, the CIA photography analyst who discovered what was happening at Dimona, said, “Whenever you get something on the Israelis and you move it along, you’d better be careful, especially if you’ve got a career.”[12]

David Ben-Gurion & Dwight Eisenhower

An agreement was reached with Norway in 1959 to purchase 20 tons of heavy water (deuterium oxide) needed for the reactor.[13] Norway only made one inspection in Israel which was in 1961, two years before the Dimona reactor was completed.[14]

Julian Borger of The Guardian writes:

Israel refused to countenance visits by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), so in the early 1960s President Kennedy demanded they accept American inspectors. US physicists were dispatched to Dimona but were given the run-around from the start. Visits were never twice-yearly as had been agreed with Kennedy and were subject to repeated postponements. The US physicists sent to Dimona were not allowed to bring their own equipment or collect samples. The lead American inspector, Floyd Culler, an expert on plutonium extraction, noted in his reports that there were newly plastered and painted walls in one of the buildings. It turned out that before each American visit, the Israelis had built false walls around the row of lifts that descended six levels to the subterranean reprocessing plant.[15]

Following JFK’s dismissal of CIA director Allen Dulles after the failure of the Bay of Pigs, he appointed AEC director John McCone to the vacant position. JFK’s choice of McCone to head the CIA was due to the latter’s willingness to publicly blow the whistle on Israel’s nuclear program (by giving information to The New York Times).[16]

CIA Director John McCone & JFK

France conducted their first nuclear test on February 13, 1960 in Algeria, and Israel’s first bomb would be designed on the French bomb used for the test.[17]

Ben-Gurion and Peres searched for Zionist donors for Dimona, with Ben-Gurion estimating total costs to by $20 million in a 1958 diary entry, and Peres wrote it ended up costing $80 million. Estimates on the U.S. side were much higher, with the numbers Eisenhower received being between $100 and $200 million, and “John Hadden, CIA station chief in Tel Aviv from 1963 to 1967, estimated that the bomb cost Israel $100 million and its Jericho missile delivery system cost another $100 million.”[18]

Abraham Feinberg led the funding efforts in the U.S. for Dimona. His role as lobbyist for Israel’s interests and fundraiser for the Democratic party required JFK to get on his good side if he wanted the Jewish vote. After acquiring support of the Israel lobby for his presidential campaign, Kennedy pardoned Haganah arms smuggler Hank Greenspun in 1961.[19] Feinberg was joined by Henry Morgenthau Jr., using contacts from the Sonneborn Institute to acquire $40 million from about 25 millionaires, with 18 of the richest being Americans. The donor list is impressive:

Samuel Zacks, head of the Canadian Zionist Organization, Louis Bloomfield, Canandian member of OSS during World War II and later legal counsel to another Dimona contributor, Samuel Bronfman, founder of Seagram Whisky. Europeans that were said to have contributed included Baron Edmund de Rothschild of the English banking family, Baron Isaac Wolfson, founder of a successful mail order business in Britain, and Baron Marcus Sieff, son of Israel Sieff who founded the Sieff Institute, chair of a large British retailer and later chancellor of the Weizmann Institute. A French citizen, Gustave Leven, was another Dimona donor. His fortune came from the mineral-water company Perrier, which he founded. It took a while, but President Eisenhower eventually learned that these wealthy members of the international Jewish community were providing large sums of money to finance Dimona’s construction.[20]

The Weizmann Institute played a major role in the development of the bomb through its radioisotope department and sending scientists abroad to conduct nuclear research.[21]

Abraham Feinberg & AEC Commissioner Glenn Seaborg

Information in the intelligence community about Dimona was slow to spread, most likely due to James Jesus Angleton wanting the CIA to maintain a strong working relationship with Mossad.

AEC Chariman John McCone made Dimona known to the public in December of 1960 because he was tired of “constant Israeli lying.”[22] On January 19, 1961, the day before John F. Kennedy’s inauguration as President, he and his senior team attended a meeting with President Eisenhower select members of his cabinet, including Secretary of State Christian Herter. Herter was candid with Kennedy about Israel’s nuclear program, saying that by 1963 they would be producing 90 kilograms of plutonium for weapons development. [23]

Kennedy assigned Myer Feldman, who worked with Kennedy during his campaign, to be deputy special consul, where he “worked as an informal advisor on Israel, acting as both a liaison to the Jewish committee and a secret envoy to Israel for both the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.”[24] It was a strange appointment, for as Avner Cohen (who interviewed Feldman) writes,

When Feldman suggested to Kennedy that he might not be the right person due to his bias in favor of Israel, JFK responded that that’s exactly why he wanted him for the position. In that role Feldman had access to all diplomatic cables and intelligence reports on the Middle East …. Significantly, Kennedy delegated the two most sensitive issues requiring face-to-face meetings with Israeli leaders to Feldman —refugees and Dimona.[25]

Since Feldman was a Zionist, this seems to have been a strategic move on Kennedy’s part to make his administration not appear to be anti-Israel, especially given the history of Joseph Kennedy.

Myer Feldman

In March 1961, JFK sent Myer Feldman along with Abraham Feinberg to meet with David Ben-Gurion about Dimona — an ironic decision, given Feinberg’s role in financing Dimona. At this point Feinberg was “serving as a senior advisor on Israeli affairs for his third consecutive U.S. president.”[26] JFK’s choice of Feinberg for this task may have to do with Feinberg helping Kennedy to get hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to his presidential campaign by a group of prominent Jews, which helped him secure 81 percent of the Jewish vote.[27] Kennedy rewarded Feinberg once he became President by giving his brother, Wilfred Feinberg, a position of federal judgeship.

Abraham Feinberg was also a close friend of Ben-Gurion, making it easier to introduce the request of a meeting with Kennedy. Feldman and Feinberg were able to negotiate with Ben-Gurion, and the resulting compromise was that Ben-Gurion would have a personal meeting with Kennedy in exchange for allowing the first American visit at Dimona.[28] Two scientists associated with AEC, Ulysses Staebler and Jesse Croach, were chosen by the AEC to make the Dimona (and other nuclear facilities in Israel) inspections from May 17 to May 20 that same year.

They reported back that they found nothing hidden during their tour and were told that the reactor would only be used for peaceful purposes. However, they understood that “the reactor eventually will produce small quantities of plutonium suitable for weapons.”[29] Further, “[t]hey also noted that the 26-MW reactor was intended to be operational by 1964, and its primary purpose was to prepare technicians to operate power reactors that the Israelis intend to build in the future.”[30]

Before this visit, in April 1961 two American scientists made a brief tour of Dimona.[31] These were Eugene Wigner and Isidor Isaac Rabi, who both worked on the Manhattan Project.[32] In 1961, Wigner had a teaching position in Israel, and Rabi could claim a position on the board of governors of the Weizmann Institute of Science.[33]

Eugene Wigner & Isador Issac Rabi

Another visit to Dimona occurred on September 26, 1962, and the two AEC scientists (Thomas Haycock and Ulysses Staebler) were led on a tour by Yuval Ne’eman (who suggested the tour) which lasted 45 minutes.[34] Haycock and Staebler said they believed the reactor at Dimona was only being used for research purposes, not production.[35]

They were called “visits,” the proper diplomatic terminology, even though there was no ambiguity about them being inspections.

According to Seymour Hersh,

The most important factor.…in Ben-Gurion’s decision to permit the inspections was the Kennedy administration’s decision in mid-1962 to authorize the sale of Hawk surface-to-air missiles to Israel. The United States had provided Israel with specialized military training and sensitive electronic gear in the past, but sale of the Hawk — considered an advanced defensive weapon — was a major departure from past policy of selling no weaponry to Israel, and, as Israel had to hope, could lead to future sales of offensive American arms.[36]

However, part of the agreed upon compromise was that the IAEA would not be involved.

Ben-Gurion got his meeting with Kennedy on May 30, 1961 in New York at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. Their discussion was centered around Dimona, and Ben-Gurion stressed that the reactor was necessary for producing electricity for Israel (although this was a lie, and Dimona produced no electricity).[37] Ben-Gurion said that “in another three or four years’ time, we will have an experimental plant for separation (of plutonium), which is in any event necessary for every nuclear power plant reactor,” hinting at Israel’s future capacity for creating nuclear weapons. He also said, “there is no intention to develop weapons capacity now.”[38]

He mentioned “for the time being, the only purposes of [the Dimona reactor] are for peace,” and that “we will see what happens in the Middle East.”[39]

Kennedy was focused on stalling Israel’s production of nuclear weapons. He told Ben-Gurion, “It is to our common interest that no country believes that Israel is contributing to the proliferation of atomic weapons.” Speaking of that meeting, Ben-Gurion said that Kennedy “looked like a boy of 25…. I thought he was a leader, a statesman, and I saw that he was a politician.”[40] He further said, “[a]t first, I did not take him seriously.”[41] Feinberg later said that “there’s no way B.G. was dealing with JFK as an equal, at least as far as B.G. was concerned. He had the typical attitude of an old-fashioned Jew toward the young. He disrespected him as a youth. B.G. could be vicious, and he had such a hatred of the old man [Joseph Kennedy].”

Kennedy wanted IAEA inspections of Dimona, at which point the finds would be forwarded to Nasser, but this was never accomplished. Feinberg worked furiously to prevent any full inspection of Dimona and warned Secretary of State Robert McNamara that continuing to press on this issue would lose Kennedy the Jewish vote come next presidential election cycle.

Once the reactor at Dimona ran in the startup phase, Israelis took over operations from the French in either 1963 or 1964. “Excavation for the co-located reprocessing plant for extracting plutonium from the reactor’s blanket material began in 1963, construction ended in about 1965 and the first production of separated plutonium occurred in 1966.”[42]

Dimona construction circa 1960

In the years 1963-1964, Israel obtained 80-100 tons of uranium oxide, known as yellowcake, from Argentina, which was essential for plutonium creation for the Dimona reactor.[43] This decision was provoked by France ending uranium exports to Israel in spring of 1963. The Israelis “had refused to sign an agreement to purchase uranium exclusively from France,”[44] so Argentina became the choice for their next supplier.

It is generally estimated that Israel acquired its first nuclear weapon between 1965 and 1968.[45]

On December 27, 1962, Kennedy held a meeting with Golda Meir in Palm Beach, Florida.[46] Kennedy said that he hopes “Israel could give consideration to our problems on this atomic reactor. We are opposed to nuclear proliferation. Our interest here is not in prying into Israel’s affairs but we have to be concerned because of the over-all situation in the Middle East.” She “reassured the President that there would not be any difficulty between us on the Israeli nuclear reactor.”[47] Following the meeting, Kennedy pressed for the CIA to collect more information on Dimona. Israeli nuclear scientists visiting the U.S. had been monitored by the U.S. government since at least 1961, and this practice continued through the duration of the Kennedy administration.[48]

JFK meets with Golda Meir in Palm Beach

Kennedy confided to his friend Charles Bartlett that the Israeli “sons of bitches lie to me constantly about their nuclear capability.”[49] During 1963, an informal agreement was made between the Kennedy administration and Israel that neither nation would spy on each other.[50] Of course, this was not followed.

Kennedy issued National Security Action Memorandum No. 231 on March 26, 1963, directed towards the heads of State, AEC and CIA. The memo, drafted by McGeorge Bundy, reads:

The President desires, as a matter of urgency, that we undertake every feasible measure to improve our intelligence on the Israeli nuclear program as well as other Israeli and UAR advanced weapons programs, and to arrive at a firmer evaluation of their import. In this connection he wishes the next informal inspection of the Israeli reactor complex to be undertaken promptly and to be as thorough as possible.

In view of this great concern over the destabilizing impact of any Israeli or UAR program looking toward the development of nuclear weapons, the President also wishes the Department of State to develop proposals for forestalling such programs; in particular we should develop plans for seeking clearer assurances from the governments concerned on this point, and means of impressing upon them how seriously such a development would be regarded in this country.[51]

A meeting between Kennedy and Shimon Peres was held on April 2, 1963. It was originally meant to just be between Peres and Myer Feldman about Israel wanting to purchase Hawk missiles. But beforehand, Kennedy and Feldman planned to have Kennedy run into Peres in the hallway, which initiated a 30-minute informal meeting between the two. This would be the first time that Israel’s policy of nuclear opacity was given in the U.S. Kennedy pressed Peres by saying: “You know that we follow very closely the discovery of any nuclear development in the region. This could create a very dangerous situation. For this reason, we monitor your nuclear effort. What could you tell me about this?” To which Peres replied: “I can tell you most clearly that we will not introduce nuclear weapons to the region, and certainly we will not be the first.”[52]

Shimon Peres & Levi Eskol, 1960

April 2 is also the day when Walworth Barbour, the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, gave the U.S. demand of semi-annual inspections of Dimona to Ben-Gurion.[53] Two weeks went by without an answer, and on April 19 Secretary of State Dean Rusk told Barbour that “Department wishes you press him if necessary for affirmative reply re semi-annual visits to Dimona and, specifically, a first such visit in May. We attach considerable importance to this.”[54]

On April 26, Ben-Gurion sent a letter to Kennedy warning about the forthcoming destruction of Israel due to the Treaty of Federation signed by Egypt, Syria and Iraq on April 17. He expressed his desire for the U.S. and USSR to sign a declaration “to the effect that they jointly guarantee the territorial integrity and security of every state in the Middle East; that any state that threatens her neighbors or declares that she is in a state of war with her or refuses to recognize her existence will receive no assistance of any kind – financial, political or other – from the two powers or, inasmuch as it depends on the two powers, from their allies or from other countries.”[55] No mention was made about Kennedy’s request for semi-annual visits to Dimona. If Ben-Gurion was hoping to draw attention from this point, he was mistaken.

On May 4, in replying to Ben-Gurion’s letter, Kennedy denied his request for a joint declaration with the USSR, noting that Khrushchev would not agree due to his involvement in the Arab world. He also made clear that Ben-Gurion was (honestly or not) overreacting to the Arab statement. Kennedy wrote, “I hope you will understand me if I add that in our judgement in Washington the practical significance of those declarations is not substantively different from that of the many earlier similar declarations put out in other forms and phrases.”[56] He returned the discussion back to nuclear weapons implicitly by writing, “[t]he danger which we foresee is not so much that of an early Arab attack as that of a successful development of advanced offensive systems….I have expressed before my deep personal conviction that reciprocal and competitive development of such weapons would dangerously threaten the stability of the area. I believe that we should consider carefully together how such a trend can be forestalled.”[57]

Ambassador Barbour met again with Ben-Gurion on May 5, pressing for semi-annual visits. A telegram written by Dean Rusk sent to Barbour describing the meeting tells that Ben-Gurion was attempting to “throw question of Dimona inspections into arena of bargaining for things Israel wants from us, such as security guarantee.” Rusk also mentions, “In answer to the Israeli charge that we are not insisting on inspection in the Arab countries, you should say that we have a good line on any Arab nuclear efforts and that these do not amount to a serious program. Therefore, we consider this argument not to be a valid one from the standpoint of the advanced Israeli program.”[58]

On May 12, 1963, Ben-Gurion sent another letter to Kennedy. He attempted to connect Nasser with Hitler, as he did in his previous letter, saying that “knowing them I am convinced that they are capable of following the Nazi example. Nasser is in fact adopting the National-Socialist ideology of the Nazis. For many years the civilized world did not take seriously Hitler’s statement that one of his aims was the worldwide extermination of the Jewish people. I have no doubt that a similar thing might happen to Jews in Israel if Nasser succeeded in defeating our army.”[59] He again did not mention Dimona or semi-annual inspections, but his explicit inference of another Holocaust was his hope of conveying to Kennedy that it was necessary for Israel to acquire nuclear weapons. But making comparisons to Hitler would have no effect on Kennedy; in a diary entry dated August 1, 1945 (following the German defeat), after visiting “the Fuhrer’s Bavarian Berghof residence and Eagle’s Nest mountain retreat,”[60] Kennedy wrote:

After visiting these two places, you can easily understand how that within a few years Hitler will emerge from the hatred that surrounds him now as one of the most significant figures who ever lived. He had boundless ambition for his country which rendered him a menace to the peace of the world, but he had a mystery about him in the way that he lived and in the manner of his death that will live and grow after him. He had in him the stuff of which legends are made.[61]

The most ominous part of Ben-Gurion’s letter was when he wrote: “Mr. President, my people have the right to exist – both in Israel and wherever they may live, and this existence is in danger.”[62] Although he expanded on this claim and said that another calamity among the Jewish people could be avoided by a joint U.S.-USSR declaration, it can be inferred that he is also speaking about U.S. inspections of Dimona.

JFK & Ben-Gurion At Waldorf-Astoria

On May 14, Ambassador Barbour had another meeting with Ben-Gurion. The telegram of the meeting reads:

After the Ambassador had pressed hard for semi-annual visits to Dimona reactor, Ben Gurion interrupted with “we know they (UAR) are building something bigger” . . . “We know Nasser is making unconventional weapons. He has some foreign experts, he is sending some people abroad. . . “We are afraid when he has missiles with nuclear warheads, he will do it (destroy Israel). What will you do to him?” . . . “If it comes to war, we must rely on ourselves”.

Ben Gurion later said he was not sure that telling Nasser (about Dimona) had the effect of diminishing UAR efforts in the nuclear field. Maybe it is better that Nasser be “a little afraid”. The meeting ended by Ben Gurion promising to consult the Cabinet.[63]

This was as close to Ben-Gurion telling the U.S. that they would continue to pursue a nuclear weapons program without explicitly saying so.

Kennedy responded with a letter on May 17. Instead of the usual formal diplomatic speak, Kennedy takes a more aggressive approach. “I am sure that you will agree that there is no more urgent business for the whole world than the control of nuclear weapons….The dangers in the proliferation of nuclear weapons systems are so obvious that I am sure I need not repeat them here.” He went on to mention their initial meeting where Ben-Gurion said that he agrees to further inspections of Dimona. “We are concerned with the disturbing effects on world stability which would accompany the development of a nuclear weapons capability by Israel. I cannot imagine that the Arabs would refrain from turning to the Soviet Union for assistance if Israel were to develop a nuclear weapons capability.”

Kennedy writes that the U.S. commitment and support to Israel “would be seriously jeopardized in the public opinion in this country and in the West as a whole if it should be thought that this Government was unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to peace as the question of the character of Israel’s effort in the nuclear field.”

He ignores Ben-Gurion’s frenzied claims of Israel’s existence being in jeopardy, by writing: “I can well appreciate your concern for developments in the UAR. But I see no present or imminent nuclear threat to Israel from there. I am assured that our intelligence on this question is good and that the Egyptians do not presently have any installation comparable to Dimona, nor any facilities potentially capable of nuclear weapons production.”[64]

Ben-Gurion replied with a letter on May 27. He wrote that Dimona is still being used for “peaceful purposes.” Regarding the request for semi-annual visits, he writes:

While we do not envisage a system of formal United States control at the Dimona reactor which the United States has not helped to establish or construct, as in the case of the reactor at Nachal Soreiq, we do agree to further annual visits to Dimona by your representatives, such as have already taken place. The “start-up” time of the Dimona reactor will not come until the end of this year or early in 1964. At that time, the French companies will hand the reactor over to us. I believe that this will be the most suitable time for your representatives to visit the reactor. At that stage they will be able to see it in an initial stage of operation, whereas now nothing new is going on there except building construction.[65]

Kennedy’s reply on June 15 reiterated the need for semi-annual inspections.

Because of the crucial importance of this problem, however, I am sure you will agree that such visits should be of a nature and on a schedule which will more nearly be in accord with international standards, thereby resolving all doubts as to the peaceful intent of the Dimona project.

Therefore, I asked our scientists to review the alternative schedules of visits we and you have proposed. If Israel’s purposes are to be clear to the world beyond reasonable doubt, I believe that the schedule which would best serve our common purposes would be a visit early this summer, another visit in June 1964, and thereafter at intervals of six months. I am sure that such a schedule should not cause you any more difficulty than that which you have proposed. It would be essential, and I take it that your letter is in accord with this, that our scientists have access to all areas of the Dimona site and to any related part of the complex, such as fuel fabrication facilities or plutonium separation plant, and that sufficient time be allotted for a thorough examination.[66]

This schedule was recommended by the State Department, so as to allow a thorough inspection before the reactor went critical.[67] Kennedy’s letter arrived on June 16, just as Ben-Gurion resigned as Prime Minister without him reading the letter’s contents.[68]

Even though Ben-Gurion retired, he wasn’t done working. Efraim Halevy, “who served as the Mossad’s liaison officer to the CIA station in Tel Aviv in the early 1960s,” said that “Ben-Gurion ultimately left office [in 1963] and Angleton went down to Sde Boker [Ben-Gurion’s home in the Negev] to meet him. I didn’t attend those meetings. Those were just the two of them. He had business to transact.”[69] The discussions between Angleton, the most powerful supporter of Israel in the American intelligence community, and Ben-Gurion, who would acquire nuclear weapons for Israel by any means necessary, could not have been peaceful in nature.

James Angleton & David Ben-Gurion
Efraim Halevy & James Angleton

Levi Eshkol, Ben-Gurion’s successor, took office on June 26. On July 4, Kennedy sent a letter to the new Prime Minister. The content was similar to his unread June 15 letter, containing his proposal for comprehensive semi-annual inspections, and he made sure that Eshkol understood that America’s “commitment to and support of Israel could be seriously jeopardized if it should be thought that we were unable to obtain reliable information on a subject as vital to peace as the question of Israel’s effort in the nuclear field.”[70]

Eshkol responded with a letter to Kennedy and conversing with Barbour on July 17. He said that he needed to review the situation before giving a formal response as how to proceed. He also told Barbour that he was surprised at Kennedy declaring that U.S. commitment to Israel could be jeopardized. He went on to ask how the U.S. would react about “a possible proposal from Israel that Israel would consult the U.S. in advance in the event that, some time in the distant future, developments in the Middle East made it necessary for her to embark on a nuclear weapons program.”[71]

The formal reply from Eshkol came August 19. He did not agree to Kennedy’s suggestion of a summer visit that year, instead opting for the end of the year, as per Ben-Gurion’s May 27 letter. As for the bi-annual inspections, he wrote: “In your letter of 5 July, Mr. President, you further propose that from June 1964, invitations to United States representatives to visit Dimona be extended at intervals of six months. Having considered the request, I believe that we shall be able to reach agreement on the future schedule of visits.” Barbour noted that Eshkol “believes it desirable that Nasser…not be completely assured that Israel is not working toward nuclear weapons production.”[72]

Levi Eskol & Lyndon Johnson

Kennedy’s August 26 letter expressed his gratefulness for allowing visits to Dimona on a “regular basis.” Barbour was told to inform Eshkol that Kennedy has not decided whether information of the visits should be “passed on to Nasser,” but notes “that there are real security advantages for security in setting to rest any fears which might otherwise lead to nuclear weapons acquisitions efforts by others in the area.”[73] Barbour was also told to carry the message that Kennedy has not yet made a decision on the security agreement to Israel that Ben-Gurion asked for initially in his May 12 letter, but he will inform Eshkol of his decision soon. This was the last known correspondence between the President and Prime Minister before Kennedy’s untimely death.

When Kennedy was murdered, Israeli leaders feigned remorse while in public:

Jewish communities across America and farther afield held memorial services for the slain president. Israel’s president, Zalman Shazar, and foreign minister, Golda Meir, flew to Washington, where they attended a requiem Mass and a memorial service at a local synagogue.[74]

The Weizmann Institute, members of whom contributed to the Israeli bomb, did their part in the coverup. An article in The Times of Israel claims:

Less than two weeks after the day he was assassinated, Kennedy had been scheduled to address a New York dinner for Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science. The president’s planned appearance had been touted as a “milestone” for the institute, which instead set to the task of creating a memorial for Kennedy. The institute ended up awarding fellowships and prizes to scientists in his memory. The Weizmann Institute continues to award its Kennedy prizes to the present day.[75]

Once Lyndon Johnson assumed the Presidency, Israel would feel less pressure exerted from the U.S. Although annual visits continued throughout his presidency, lasting from 1964 until being discontinued in 1969, Johnson did not take much interest in them. John McCone pressed Johnson to take a stronger hand in nonproliferation with Israel but was ignored. McCone resigned from his position of Director of the CIA because, as he said, “When I cannot get the President to read my reports, then it’s time to go.”[76] By 1968, government officials close to Johnson realized that the President was not serious about preventing Israeli bomb production.[77]

Avner Cohen and William Burr explained:

It turned out that Kennedy’s insistence on biannual visits to Dimona was not implemented. U.S. government officials remained interested in such a schedule, and President Lyndon B. Johnson did raise the issue with Eshkol, but he never pressed hard on the subject the way that Kennedy had.[78]

Lyndon Johnson said to an Israeli diplomat, “You have lost a very great friend. But you have found a better one.”[79] As Seymour Hersh wrote,

Johnson’s strong emotional ties to Israel and his belief that Soviet arms were altering the balance of power in the Middle East drove him to become the first American President to supply Israel with offensive weapons and the first publicly to commit America to its defense.[80]

[1] Roger Mattson, Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel (CreateSpace, 2016), 22.

[2] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 91.

[3] “Israel and the Bomb,” The New York Times, 1998,


[4] “Israeli Nuclear Program,” Atomic Heritage Foundation, August 15, 2018,


[5] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 29-30.

[6] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 40.

[7] “Israeli Nuclear Program, ibid”

[8] “Bertrand Goldschmidt,” Wilson Center,


[9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/15/truth-israels-secret-nuclear-arsenal

[10] Seymour Hersh, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy (New York: Random House, 1991), Chapter 3.

[11] Julian Borger, “The truth about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal,” The Guardian, January 15, 2014, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/15/truth-israels-secret-nuclear-arsenal

[12] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 28.

[13] “The truth about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal”, ibid

[14] Robinson Freytag, “Film shows how Israel got heavy water from Norway,” The Jerusalem Post, December 7, 2005,


[15] “The truth about Israel’s secret nuclear arsenal”, ibid

[16] “Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential, John F. Kennedy Pushed for Inspection of Israel Nuclear Facilities,” National Security Archive, April 21, 2016,


[17] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 30-31

[18] Ibid, 32.

[19] Grant Smith, Divert!: Numec, Zalman Shapiro and the Diversion of Us Weapons Grade Uranium Into the Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program (Washington, DC: Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, Inc., 2012), 16.

[20] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 33.

[21] Ibid, 22.

[22] Ibid, 34.

[23] “Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential”

[24] “Myer Feldman,” Wilson Center,


[25] Ibid.

[26] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 38.

[27] The Samson Option, Chapter 8.

[28] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 38.

[29] “Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential.”

[30] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 38.

[31] Ibid, 38.

[32] Ibid, 38.

[33] Ibid, 39.

[34] Ibid, 39.

[35] “Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential.”

[36] The Samson Option, Chapter 8.

[37] Ibid, 39.

[38] “Concerned About Nuclear Weapons Potential.”

[39] Ibid.

[40] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 39.

[41] The Samson Option, Chapter 8.

[42] Stealing the Atom Bomb, 40.

[43] William Burr and Avner Cohen, “The Israel-Argentina Yellowcake Connection,”


[44] Ibid.

[45] “Israeli Nuclear Program.”

[46] “The Battle of the Letters, 1963: John F. Kennedy, David Ben-Gurion, Levi Eshkol, and the U.S. Inspections of Dimona,” National Security Archive, May 2, 2019,


[47] “Conversation with Israeli Foreign Minister Meir,” National Security Archive, December 27, 1962, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983537-National-Security-Archive-Doc-02-Memorandum-of

[48] “Letter, Howard Furnas, Office of Special Assistant to Secretary of State for Atomic Energy and Outer Space, to Dwight Ink, Atomic Energy Commission,” National Security Archive, November 15, 1961, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu/dc.html?doc=2806718-Document-11B-Letter-Howard-Furnas-Office-of

[49] The Samson Option, Chapter 9.

[50] Ibid, Chapter 7.



[52] “The Battle of the Letters.”

[53] Ibid.

[54] “State Department telegram 720 to U.S. Embassy,” National Security Archive, April 19, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983553-National-Security-Archive-Doc-18-State

[55] “Prime Minister Ben-Gurion Letter to President Kennedy,” National Security Archive, April 26, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983554-National-Security-Archive-Doc-19-Prime-Minister

[56] “State Department telegram 780 to U.S. Embassy, Israel [transmitting letter from President Kennedy to Prime Minister Ben-Gurion],” National Security Archive, May 4, 1963,


[57] Ibid.

[58] “State Department telegram 800 to U.S. Embassy Israel,” National Security Archive, May 10, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983558-National-Security-Archive-Doc-23-State

[59] “The Battle of the Letters.”

[60] Brynn Holland, “JFK Diary Reveals Rarely Seen Side,” History, March 24, 2017,


[61] John F. Kennedy, Prelude to Leadership: The European Diary of John F. Kennedy Summer 1945 (Washington D.C., Regnery Publishing, Inc., 1995) 74

[62] “Prime Minister Ben-Gurion to President Kennedy, 12 May 1963, with State Department memo attached, 14 May 1963,” National Security Archive,


[63] “U.S. Embassy Israel Telegram 894 to State Department,” National Security Archive, May 15, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983561-National-Security-Archive-Doc-26-U-S-Embassy

[64] “Department of State telegram 835 to U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv,” National Security Archive, May 18, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983563-National-Security-Archive-Doc-28-Department-of

[65] “U.S. Embassy Israel Airgram A-746 to State Department,” National Security Archive, May 29, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983565-National-Security-Archive-Doc-30-U-S-Embassy

[66] “274. Telegram From the Department of State to the Embassy in Israel,” Office of the Historian, June 15, 1963, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1961-63v18/d274

[67] “The Battle of the Letters.”

[68] “U.S. Embassy Israel telegram 1043 to State Department,” National Security Archive, June 16, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983569-National-Security-Archive-Doc-34-U-S-Embassy

[69] Jefferson Morley, The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2017), 171.

[70] “State Department telegram 193 to U.S. Embassy Israel,” National Security Archive, July 4, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983570-National-Security-Archive-Doc-35-State

[71] “U.S. Embassy Israel telegram 74 to State Department,” National Security Archive, July 17, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983571-National-Security-Archive-Doc-36-U-S-Embassy

[72] “U.S. Embassy Israel telegram 204 to State Department,” National Security Archive, August 19, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983575-National-Security-Archive-Doc-40-U-S-Embassy

[73] “State Department telegram 193 to U.S. Embassy Israel,” National Security Archive, August 26, 1963, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//dc.html?doc=5983576-National-Security-Archive-Doc-41-State

[74] Daniel Treiman, “Among JFK’s Jewish mourners was Oswald’s killer,” The Times of Israel, November 22, 2013, https://www.timesofisrael.com/among-jfks-jewish-mourners-was-oswalds-killer/

[75] Ibid.

[76] The Samson Option, Chapter 11.

[77] The Samson Option, Chapter 14.

[78] Avner Cohen and William Burr, “How a Standoff With the U.S. Almost Blew Up Israel’s Nuclear Program,” Haaretz, May 3, 2019,


[79] JTA and Ron Kampeas, “Lyndon Johnson: Israel Has Had No Better Friend,” Haaretz, May 9, 2018, https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/lyndon-johnson-no-better-friend-1.6073630

[80] The Samson Option, Chapter 9.

SOURCE: https://christiansfortruth.com/the-road-to-dealey-plaza-how-jfks-refusal-to-allow-israel-nuclear-weapons-sealed-his-death-warrant/


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