Jericho III Missile
Jericho III MissileCourtesy of Israel Aerospace Industries

An August 6 opinion article by Dr. Joe Tuzara on Arutz Sheva (Israel National News) regarding Israel's possible use of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP) bomb against Iran has triggered a chain reaction, allegedly influencing U.S. intelligence sources who have since been quoted in several publications, including the New York Post. The latest in the chain of news outlets to quote the report is the London Sunday Times.

The intelligence sources reportedly believe that the Arutz Sheva article was more than an innocent op-ed by a physician, and that it "reflects official Israeli government thinking about a possible preemptive response to Iran’s expected emergence as a nuclear weapons state in the near future." This, according to the Washington Free Beacon's Bill Gertz, who reported on the U.S. intelligence agencies' concerns August 29.

"It was the first time the issue of a nuclear EMP attack by Israel had appeared in a mainstream Israeli press outlet," wrote the Beacon.

"U.S. officials also suspect the article was written by someone in the Israeli government who favors such a strike. Another theory among analysts is that the Israeli government, at a minimum, encouraged publication of the article," it reported.

"If Israel chooses one of its Jericho III missiles to detonate a single EMP warhead at high altitude over north central Iran, there will be no blast or radiation effects on the ground," Dr. Tuzara wrote in his original article.

"Coupled with cyber-attacks, Iranians would not know it happened except for a massive shutdown of the electric power grid, oil refineries and a transportation gridlock. Food supply would be exhausted and communication would be largely impossible, leading to economic collapse. Similarly, the uranium enrichment centrifuges in Fordo, Natanz and widely scattered elsewhere, would freeze for decades."

It is not clear why the intelligence officials appear to believe the op-ed was an official Israeli message to Iran, rather than simply being the writer's opinion.

Arutz Sheva is a private publication and is often critical of the government's policies, especially regarding Judea and Samaria. However, it is probably the only Israel-based publication that consistently and exclusively features op-eds by thinkers who do not let the "politically correct" stream cloud their reasoning. In other words: many of the articles that appear on Arutz Sheva simply make sense. This could be have something to do with the U.S. analysts' belief that the article reflects an official position. No one on Arutz Sheva knows Dr. Tuzara personally, and his op-eds arrive by email as do all the articles from which the site's editorial staff chooses postings.

Another Arutz Sheva op-ed article, written by Mark Langfan in April, also mentioned the possible use of an EMP bomb. In Langfan's scenario, Iran could use such a bomb, if it has one, against Saudi Arabia or other countries it perceives as enemies.