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Katzir: Israel Has Nuclear Potential

President Ephraim Katzir today clarified a statement he made to visiting scientific writers yesterday about Israel’s nuclear potential. Israel has the general potential and technological and scientific know-how and experience to realize its nuclear potential should it so desire, Katzir said in an official announcement this evening. He reiterated previous Israeli statements that Israel would not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.

Earlier today, the President’s office said that because Katzir was out of town it was unable to confirm a report that he had indicated to the scientific writers that Israel has a nuclear potential and would use it under certain circumstances. The President, a bio-physicist who was on the staff of the Weizmann Institute of Science before taking office, discussed nuclear potential at a reception he I gave for the science writers, among them writers from Western Europe, the U.S. and Canada.

According to one source, he was asked under what circumstances Israel would apply its nuclear potential, to which the President replied with a smile, “Do you expect me to name the date here and now?” When another writer asked whether Israel’s nuclear potential did not cause concern, Katzir allegedly replied, “Why should it be of concern to us? Let the world worry.”