Iran Missile Test Shows Israel's Nuclear Deterrent Is Essential

U.S. must respect the Jewish state's past restraint and current need for self-defense.

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Peres—who has told Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak that Israel would be willing to sign the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty within two years after the establishment of "regional peace"—believes that it was Israel's unstated but obvious nuclear capabilities that helped set the stage for peace with Egypt and that may yet encourage others to follow—but not if Iran's fanatics get their way. 

Policy makers who want a successful two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should think twice before they revise U.S. nonproliferation policy of calculated silence about Israel's undeclared nuclear deterrent. Against the backdrop of Tehran's genocidal threats to Israel, its lengthening missile reach, and its destabilizing campaign against Egypt, the U.S. and its European allies should be counting on Israel's nuclear deterrence, not seeking ways to degrade it. Far from stabilizing the region, any change in U.S. policy could unleash the nuclear dominos in the world's most dangerous neighborhood. Tehran's missile launch sent an unmistakable challenge to Mr. Obama. The president's response should leave no ambiguities about Israel's continued right to maintain her nuclear deterrence.

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Corrected on : Rabbi Abraham Cooper is associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Harold Brackman, a historian, is a consultant to the Wiesenthal Center.