by David Bedein
A new study based on Israeli and U.S. data says the Jewish state could survive being hit by as many as 80 nuclear weapons. According to Middle East Newsline, the study says Israeli casualties could be significantly reduced through the construction of bomb shelters and dispersal of the population.
Titled “Nuclear Threat: The New Challenge to Missile Defense Systems,” the report examines the possible effects of a nuclear strike on Tel Aviv, Israel’s commercial center.
“The atomic bomb does not mean doomsday,” said Yehoshua Sokol, author of the report and a member of the Ashkelon-based Academic Forum for Nuclear Awareness and a staffer at Falcon Analytics. “Simple things like bomb shelters and dispersal of the population would help significantly.”
This report marks the first disclosed study of the repercussions of a nuclear attack on Israel, as well as recommendations to reduce casualties.
The report, presented to the Israel Defense Ministry and the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, was assisted by Israeli government engineers and scientists, including from the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, regarded as the Israeli equivalent of the Livermore National Laboratory in the United States.
“If we build a system that stresses the construction of protected rooms [within homes and office buildings] then we could eliminate 75 percent of the casualties,” Mr. Sokol said. “It’s as if we had intercepted 75 percent of the incoming [nuclear] missiles.”
The study examined the likely outcome of an attack by a 15-kiloton atomic bomb, similar to that dropped by the United States on the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945.
The report estimates an atomic bomb dropped on Tel Aviv would result in 6,000 casualties if residents in the affected area were in protected rooms. Without protection, 25,000 people likely would die.
The study says 7,000 people would be killed if an atomic bomb fell on the less populated Israeli city of Ramle, located east of Tel Aviv.
About 1,000 people would be killed if an atom bomb struck Israeli communities in the northern West Bank.
In both cases, the study envisioned that the population would not be protected.
The worst-case scenario involved Israel being hit by 80 nuclear weapons. The study envisions 75,000 casualties with a population protected by bomb shelters. If no precautions are taken Israel could suffer as many as 300,000 dead.
Mr. Sokol, citing Hiroshima, said the immediate lethality radius from the epicenter of an atomic blast could be no more than 120 feet. As a result, he said, a nuclear attack on Tel Aviv would probably spare most of its residential and office towers.
“To knock out Aziereli (the tallest building in Tel Aviv) or any other big building, you would need a direct or near direct hit by an atomic bomb,” Mr. Sokol said.
Referring to the American atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Mr. Sokol played down the prospect of massive casualties from nuclear radiation.
Mr. Sokol, citing U.S. data, said fewer than 1,000 people died from cancer in the two Japanese cities from 1945 to 1998.
About 100,000 people were killed in the combined U.S. nuclear attacks.
As a result, Mr. Sokol said, the most likely nuclear scenario was of an electro-magnetic pulse attack on Israel. This would mean using a nuclear weapon that would explode at least 20 miles in altitude and knock out the Jewish state’s electronic and electrical grid of the Jewish state. The report concludes Israel needs to prepare by upgrading its electronic and electrical infrastructures.
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