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Einstein's Last Words

These were Albert Einstein's last words: "In essence, the conflict that exists today is no more than an old-style struggle for power, once again presented to mankind in semi-religious trappings. The difference is that, this time, the development of atomic power has imbued the struggle with a ghostly character; for both parties know and admit that, should the quarrel deteriorate into actual war, mankind is doomed. Despite this knowledge, statesmen in responsible positions on both sides continue to employ the well-known technique of seeking to intimidate and demoralize the opponent by marshaling superior military strength. They do so even though such a policy entails the risk of war and doom. Not one statesman in a position of responsibility has dared to pursue the only course that holds out any promise of peace, the course of supranational security, since for a statesman to follow such a course would be tantamount to political suicide. Political passions, once they have been fanned into flame, exact their victims ... Citater fra ..."

In his lecture at Einstein's memorial, nuclear physicist Robert Oppenheimer, who has been called the father of the atomic bomb, summarized his impression of Einstein as a person: "He was almost wholly without sophistication and wholly without worldliness . . . There was always with him a wonderful purity at once childlike and profoundly stubborn."

Albert Einstein was profoundly stubborn about the need for human beings to abandon racism, tribalism and nationalism if they wanted peace. He also understood the dangers posed by nuclear weapons. Einstein took the draft of a speech he was preparing for a television appearance commemorating the State of Israel's seventh anniversary with him to the hospital, but he did not live long enough to complete it. Were the events related? Was Einstein preparing to discuss Israel's pursuit of nuclear weapons? Here is some pertinent information from Wikipedia on the subject. Dimona is the name of the site of the first Israeli nuclear reactor.

Pre-Dimona 1949–1956

Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion was "nearly obsessed" with obtaining nuclear weapons to prevent the Holocaust from reoccurring. He stated, "What Einstein, Oppenheimer, and Teller, the three of them are Jews, made for the United States, could also be done by scientists in Israel, for their own people". Ben-Gurion decided to recruit Jewish scientists from abroad even before the end of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War that established Israel's independence. He and others, such as head of the Weizmann Institute of Science and defense ministry scientist Ernst David Bergmann, believed and hoped that Jewish scientists such as Oppenheimer and Teller would help Israel.

In 1949 a unit of the Israel Defense Forces Science Corps, known by the Hebrew acronym HEMED GIMMEL, carried out a two year geological survey of the Negev. While a preliminary study was initially prompted by rumors of petroleum fields, one objective of the longer two year survey was to find sources of uranium; some small recoverable amounts were found in phosphate deposits. That year HEMED GIMMEL funded six Israeli physics graduate students to study overseas, including one to go to the University of Chicago and study under Enrico Fermi, who had overseen the world's first artificial and self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. In early 1952 HEMED GIMMEL was moved from the IDF to the Ministry of Defense and was reorganized as the Division of Research and Infrastructure (EMET). That June Bergmann was appointed by Ben-Gurion to be the first chairman of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC).

HEMED GIMMEL was renamed Machon 4 during the transfer, and was used by Bergmann as the "chief laboratory" of the IAEC; by 1953, Machon 4, working with the Department of Isotope Research at the Weizmann Institute, developed the capability to extract uranium from the phosphate in the Negev and new technique to produce indigenous heavy water. The techniques were two years more advanced than American efforts. Bergmann, who was interested in increasing nuclear cooperation with the French, sold both patents to the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA) for 60 million francs. Although they were never commercialized, it was a consequential step for future French-Israeli cooperation. In addition, Israeli scientists probably helped construct the G-1 plutonium production reactor and UP-1 reprocessing plant at Marcoule. France and Israel had close relations in many areas. France was principal arms supplier for the young Jewish state, and as instability spread through French colonies in North Africa, Israel provided valuable intelligence obtained from contacts with Sephardi Jews in those countries. At the same time Israeli scientists were also observing France's own nuclear program, and were the only foreign scientists allowed to roam "at will" at the nuclear facility at Marcoule. In addition to the relationships between Israeli and French Jewish and non-Jewish researchers, the French believed that cooperation with Israel could give them access to international Jewish nuclear scientists.

After U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower announced the Atoms for Peace initiative, Israel became the second country to sign on (following Turkey), and signed a peaceful nuclear cooperation agreement with the United States on 12 July 1955. This culminated in a public signing ceremony on 20 March 1957 to construct a "small swimming-pool research reactor in Nachal Soreq", which would be used to shroud the construction of a much larger facility with the French justified their decision to provide Israel a nuclear reactor by claiming it was not without precedent. In September 1955 Canada publicly announced that it would help the Indian government build a heavy-water research reactor, the CIRUS, for "peaceful purposes". When Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, France proposed Israel attack Egypt and invade the Sinai as a pretext for France and Britain to invade Egypt posing as "peacekeepers" with the true intent of seizing the Suez Canal. In exchange, France would provide the nuclear reactor as the basis for the Israeli nuclear weapons program. Shimon Peres, sensing the opportunity on the nuclear reactor, accepted. On 17 September 1956, Peres and Bergmann reached a tentative agreement in Paris for the CEA to sell Israel a small research reactor. This was reaffirmed by Peres at the Protocol of Sèvres conference in late October for the sale of a reactor to be built near Dimona and for a supply of uranium fuel.

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