The concept of a nuclear-free Mideast is typically discussed on the basis of an unfortunate assumption: that, since Israel is the only regional nuclear power, a nuclear-free Mideast would necessarily harm Israeli security. This is a very short-term perspective. Even over the short term, Israel’s nuclear monopoly harms its security, and the harm is even greater over the long term.
Israeli decision-makers should consider the national security benefits of a common regional standard of nuclear behavior. Israel’s long-standing policy of nuclear ambiguity today serves as cover and justification for Iran’s copycat policy. Over the long term, Israel will be more secure in a region that accepts the concept of nuclear transparency than it will under the current circumstances, in which Israeli nuclear rogue status stimulates others to behave the same, with results that are clear to all – an Iran obeying the letter of the NPT but scorning the spirit, a Syria with a hidden nuclear installation, and who knows what next! Short-sighted Israeli insistence on a mythical “exceptionalism” is no service to the security of the Israeli people.