Israel’s Begin Doctrine

The Israeli government, led by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, believed that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Iraq would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state. That was the beginning of the Begin Doctrine which called for military action against countries or groups that carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens or interests. The Begin Doctrine has also been used to justify Israel’s military operations in the Middle East, including the bombing of the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981 and the attack on the Syrian nuclear facility in 2007.

by Muhammad Shahzad


A doctrine is a set of principles or guidelines that are used to guide the actions of a group or organization, such as a military or government. These principles or guidelines are often formalized in official documents and are used to shape the decision-making and actions of the group or organization.

Doctrines can be used in a variety of contexts, such as military, political, religious, or economic. Military doctrines, for example, guide the use of military force and the conduct of military operations. Political doctrines guide the actions of a political party or government. Religious doctrines guide the practices and beliefs of a religious organization. Economic doctrines guide the management of an economy.

Doctrines can be classified into different types such as defensive doctrine, offensive doctrine, and deterrence doctrine. A defensive doctrine is focused on the protection of one’s territory and citizens; an offensive doctrine is focused on attacking the enemy and achieving objectives; and a deterrence doctrine is focused on preventing the enemy from taking any aggressive action by showing the enemy the potential consequences.

The Begin Doctrine

The Begin Doctrine of Israel is a policy of retaliatory military action against any country or group that attacks Israeli citizens or interests. The doctrine is named after the former Prime Minister of Israel, Menachem Begin, who was in office from 1977 to 1983.

The Begin Doctrine has since been invoked several times, including in response to terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens and interests. The doctrine has been a controversial policy, with some arguing that it has resulted in the unnecessary escalation of conflicts and human suffering. It’s worth noting that the Begin Doctrine is not a written policy, but rather a general principle that has guided Israel’s military actions over the years.

Israel and Iraq

The Begin Doctrine was first put into practice in 1981, when Israel launched a surprise air strike against an Iraqi nuclear reactor that was under construction, on the belief that it was intended to produce nuclear weapons. This operation, called Operation Opera, was justified by the Begin Doctrine, which holds that Israel will not allow any country in the region to acquire nuclear weapons, as it would pose an existential threat to the Jewish state.

The operation was widely criticized by the international community, as the attack was seen as a violation of international law and the sovereignty of Iraq. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning the attack, and many countries imposed sanctions on Israel. However, the Begin government defended the operation as a necessary measure to protect the security of the state of Israel.

It’s worth noting that the Osirak attack has been a matter of debate, with some arguing that it prevented Iraq from obtaining nuclear weapons, while others argue that it only delayed the program and ultimately led to more regional instability.

Israel and Syria

In 2007, Israel is believed to have carried out an air strike against a nuclear facility in Syria. The facility, located in the  Deir ez-Zor region of eastern Syria, was believed to be a nuclear reactor under construction with North Korean assistance. The attack was not acknowledged by the Israeli government, which has a policy of ambiguity regarding its military operations. However, it was widely reported in the media, and the Syrian government acknowledged that an attack had taken place.

The incident was not officially confirmed by the Israeli government, but it is widely believed that the Israeli Air Force was responsible for the attack, which destroyed the nuclear facility. Some experts have cast doubt on the veracity of the claims of a nuclear reactor, while others have argued that the facility was not a nuclear reactor but a military installation.

Israel and Iran

There have been multiple reports of Iranian nuclear scientists being targeted in attacks over the past decade. These attacks have been attributed to Israel and the United States, but neither country has officially claimed responsibility for them. In 2010, there was a series of attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists. The first attack occurred on January 12, when a magnetic bomb was attached to the car of a nuclear scientist, Massoud Ali-Mohammadi, who was killed as a result of the explosion.

Subsequently, on November 29, 2010, another nuclear scientist, Majid Shahriari, was assassinated while driving to work in Tehran, when a bomb was attached to his car. A few months later, on January 11, 2011, another nuclear scientist, Fereydoon Abbasi, was targeted in a similar attack but he survived. These attacks were widely attributed to Israel, which has been known to carry out targeted killings of individuals it sees as a threat to its security.

The Stuxnet

Stuxnet is a computer worm that was discovered in 2010 and is believed to have been specifically designed to target industrial control systems, such as those used in nuclear power plants. The worm is thought to have been used to target the nuclear facilities in Iran, specifically the Natanz uranium enrichment facility. The attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities with Stuxnet was a significant event in the history of cyber-warfare and it highlighted the vulnerability of industrial systems to cyber-attacks.

The Stuxnet was reportedly developed as a joint effort by the United States and Israel, as a means to disrupt and sabotage Iran’s nuclear program. The worm was able to spread through computer networks, and once it had infected a target system, it was able to take control of the programmable logic controllers (PLCs) that control the centrifuges used in the uranium enrichment process. The worm caused the centrifuges to spin out of control, causing damage and setting back Iran’s nuclear program by several years.


The Begin Doctrine has provided a framework for Israel to take swift and decisive military action against perceived threats, which has helped to maintain its deterrent power and defend its citizens from terrorist attacks. This doctrine has also played a role in preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons by countries in the region that might pose a threat to Israel’s security, which has further enhanced Israel’s power in the region.

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