Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi /FLASH90
Henry Kissinger at a conference in Jerusalem, May 14, 2008.

Henry Alfred Kissinger, born Heinz Alfred Kissinger, born on May 27, 1923, in Fürth, Bavaria, Germany, has had a unique and conflicted relationship with the State of Israel, the direct result of his being Jewish and holding such high government positions such as United States Secretary of State and National Security Advisor under the Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.

On July 7, 1969, Kissinger issued a top-secret memorandum to President Nixon on the recommended policy regarding Israel’s nuclear power. “Israel has 12 surface-to-surface nuclear weapons,” Kissinger reported, “and plans by the end of 1970 to have a total force of 24-30, ten of which are programmed for nuclear warheads.”


Kissinger noted: “Israel’s secret possession of nuclear weapons would increase the potential danger in the Middle East, and we do not desire complicity in it.”

Kissinger recommended telling Ambassador Yitzhak Rabin that delivery of US weapons to Israel is conditioned on the Jewish State signing the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons treaty. In other words, Israel must be made to discontinue its nuclear program.

Four years later, in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, it was Israel’s nuclear threat that, according to many military historians, stopped the advancing Syrian tanks down the Golan Heights. There were very few IDF armored units between them and Haifa.

“Many things happened then,” he told an Israel interviewer in 2013, “and there was a wide connection, and there was also this small problem, that we rescued you in ’73, right? So, it can really be argued that we behaved in Israel rigidly.”

In a note to President Ford about the 1973 war, Kissinger wrote: “We wouldn’t have been more successful if we staged it,” and that included the fact that so many Israelis were killed in that war, the highest figure since the War of Independence.

Israeli historian Dr. Uri Milstein points to this quote in constructing his theory about the Yom Kippur War, namely that it was the result of a secret plot involving Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, Kissinger, and President Sadat. The deal was that Israel would be negligent in protecting its side of the Suez Canal to allow an invading Egyptian army through its fortifications, give Egypt a small military victory, and as a result, Egypt would be flexible regarding peace with Israel, Egypt would rid itself of the Soviet presence and switch to the American side, and everybody would be happy.

In addition to being the first proponent of real change in Israel’s relations with Egypt, Kissinger was also the architect of détente with the Soviets, which resulted in the first wave of Russian Jewish immigration, both to the US and Israel. He also ended––at a huge cost––the war in Vietnam, and opened relations with China. No diplomat in history has been able to influence this much change without involving his country in new wars.

In a 1972 interview with Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, Kissinger boasted that his enormous success “arises from the fact that I’ve always acted alone. Americans like that immensely. Americans like the cowboy who leads the wagon train by riding ahead alone on his horse, the cowboy who rides all alone into the town, the village, with his horse, and nothing else. Maybe even without a pistol, since he doesn’t shoot. He acts, that’s all, by being in the right place at the right time. In short, a Western.”


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