Dayan asked Golda Meir to prepare nuclear option in 73

Moshe Dayan urged Golda Meir to prepare to launch a nuclear strike during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, according to a former Israeli official’s longtime aide and confidant.

Arnon Azaryahu, who was an aide to Israel Galili, a Cabinet minister during the war, said in an interview that Dayan, the defense minister, suggested that Meir, the prime minister, order preparations to enable a nuclear option on Oct. 8, 1973, the second day of the war.

The Yom Kippur War broke out when Syria and Egypt simultaneously mounted a surprise attack against Israel.

Dayan, Azaryahu said, told Meir that “since the situation is very bad, it would be worthwhile, since we don’t have a lot of time and a lot of options, that we prepare to show the nuclear option.” Meir declined, Azaryahu said.

Azaryahu recounted the incident during a filmed interview published Oct. 3 on the website of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The Wilson center called Azaryahu a “long-term Israeli government insider.”

The interview with Azaryahu was conducted several years ago by Avner Cohen, a historian who specializes in Israel’s presumed nuclear arms program — a program that Israel has neither confirmed nor denied. — jta