‘When Pigs Fly’: Britain, Canada and Nuclear Exports to Israel, 1958-1974

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Britain and Canada, two major nuclear Cold War actors, refrained from establishing close nuclear ties with Israel from 1958 to 1974, despite Israel’s consistent interest in importing civilian nuclear technology. This was true both before and after the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty came into force in 1970, even though the treaty allowed for the export of safeguarded nuclear reactors. In comparison, the other two leading nuclear exporters of the period, France and the United States, were much more involved in the initial stages of the Israeli nuclear programme, exporting research reactors to Israel in the 1950s. How did Britain and Canada view Israel’s military and civilian nuclear programme from 1958 to 1974? How did they form their nuclear export policy towards Israel and what considerations motivated them? This analysis examines these questions using archival material from British and Canadian archives.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)707-728
Number of pages22
JournalDiplomacy and Statecraft
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Sociology and Political Science


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