How Israel Offered to Sell Nuclear Weapons to Apartheid South Africa

I normally write about one country in particular, but those of you with a Pan-African/international interest might like this feature in the Guardian about the links between the Apartheid regime in South Africa and Israel during the Apartheid era. The two countries cooperated on defence and security matters, and Israel sold weapons to South Africa at a time when it was being shunned by much of the world.

According to the Guardian South Africa’s then defence minister, PW Botha, asked for warheads and his Israeli counterpart Shimon Peres (now Israel’s president) responded by offering the warheads “in three sizes”.

The collaboration between the two countries is not surprising. Both were being shunned by their neighbours at the time and needed all the friends they could get. The Israelis had their usual problems with Arab countries and many African countries also did not have diplomatic relations with it. South Africa was of course shunned en masse by African countries. So they had a mutual enemies and a mutual interest in helping each other.

Click the link below to see the documents and meeting minutes between Israel and South Africa in which officials of both countries discuss plans for a nuclear weapons deal.

For the sake of balance, I should point out that Shimon Peres has denied trying to negotiate a nuclear arms deal with South Africa:


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