Israel’s nuclear amimut policy and its consequences

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In neither admitting nor denying its nuclear capabilities, Israel has adopted a policy of amimut, or ‘ambiguity’ in regard to its nuclear policy. By not acknowledging its nuclear capabilities, Israel has actually strayed from the traditional tenets of rational deterrence theory, which states that deterrence can be achieved when a state credibly communicates its capabilities and intent. Incredibly, despite the fact that Israel has not followed these tenets, it has still managed to achieve effective deterrence against non-conventional attacks, and furthermore avoid the automatic dire rebound results that typically accompany the build-up of arms in the international community. As successful as this approach has been, amimut has also resulted in the negative side effect of undermining Israeli democracy and perceived political control over national security affairs. This article explores the positive and negative impacts of this unique policy, and the consequences of maintaining or abandoning the policy of amimut.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-558
Number of pages18
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Taylor & Francis.


  • Israel's nuclear policy
  • strategy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations


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