How Israel Swindled Its Way to an Atomic Bomb

3,629 words [1]

Arabic version here [2]

Roger J. Mattson
Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel [3]
CreateSpace, 2016

There’s a great deal of talk about “weapons of mass destruction” proliferating across the Middle East. The mainstream media has sounded the alarm about Iran’s nuclear weapons program since the 1980s (and yet no Iranian bomb has appeared). The supposed purpose of the Iraq War was to eliminate the nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons programs that Iraq was falsely alleged to have had. To keep their rivals from developing a bomb, Israel attacked nuclear facilities in Iraq in 1981 and in Syria in 2007. To paraphrase Jean-Paul Sartre, Israel is sick with fear, they are afraid of the shadow of their own stolen bomb. How they stole the atomic bomb is detailed in Roger J. Mattson’s 2016 book, Stealing the Atom Bomb: How Denial and Deception Armed Israel.

This is how the swindle worked. Israel got its first nuclear technology through the Eisenhower administration’s naïve Atoms for Peace program. This boondoggle was used to set up the Nahal Soreq reactor, which became operational in 1960. As reactors go, Nahal Soreq was smaller, less capable, and built with the condition that it not be used to produce weapons, but it got Israel on the road to becoming a fully nuclear-capable nation.

After getting Nahal Soreq operational, the Israelis acquired another reactor that could produce weapons-grade material from the French. The French were so angry that the Americans had sided with Egypt during the Suez Canal Crisis that they accelerated their own nuclear program and spitefully constructed a reactor capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium in the Nagev Desert, at the village of Dimona.[1] This French connection[2] with Israel was critical: the Israelis’ atomic bomb design was based on the bomb that the French government had tested near Reggane, Algeria in 1960.[3]

However, Atoms for Peace and the French connection merely gave Israel a partial nuclear program. The Israelis still needed large quantities of highly enriched uranium (HEU). Mattson shows how they got this material through a fly-by-night company called the Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corporation (NUMEC). This company was chartered in 1957 and located near Pittsburg, in Apollo, Pennsylvania. Stealing the Bomb makes it clear that NUMEC’s entire purpose was to get HEU to Israel. The fact that NUMEC supplied HEU to other customers, including the United States Navy, was merely a cover for Israel’s own aims. NUMEC’s founders were a group of Jews, two of whom feature prominently in this story. The first is the investor David Lowenthal [4] (1921-2006). The second, Zalman Shapiro [5] (1920-2016), was one of Lowenthal’s neighbors in Pittsburg and he was responsible for the day-to-day operations of NUMEC.


The NUMEC plant

While a group of Jewish financiers organized by Lowenthal got the plant up and running, NUMEC’s executives mostly got their capital from others – specifically from local banks. NUMEC was highly leveraged by loans from Mellon National Bank and the Pittsburg National Bank.[4]

It is very likely that NUMEC started to divert HEU to Israel immediately upon commencing operations. However, the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) didn’t notice the scope of the loss until 1965. The ease of the theft was facilitated by the fact that HEU must be packaged and stored in small quantities. This packaging requirement is necessary because too much HEU stored together in the right geometry can create a “criticality accident” where neutrons are released in quantities sufficient to kill people in the immediate vicinity.[5] When properly packaged, however, HEU’s radiation is not a threat, and likewise it becomes easy to get past a guard due to its smallness.

NUMEC’s accounting of its HEU was sloppy from the get-go – in retrospect, the sloppiness was clearly deliberate. For a time, NUMEC was able to keep the theft hidden through sleight-of-hand accounting tricks, with one contract’s HEU being merged with another. When the AEC finally confronted Shapiro about the missing HEU, he had a great many excuses ready. There was also a suspicious, Jewish lightning-style fire in 1964 that destroyed many records. Shapiro also insisted that the missing HEU could be accounted for as having ended up as dust in the plant’s ductwork, had been accidentally washed away into the Kiskiminetas River, had ended up on cleaning rags that had been buried in the plant’s waste pit, and/or tracked outside on the shoes and clothing of NUMEC’s employees. He also blamed incompetent employees for the sloppy accounting. Investigators determined his excuses were simply not true. This sloppiness was likely a feature, not a bug, of the scam to get the HEU to Israel. As all white-collar criminals know, the easiest way to rob a bank is to own it.

Throughout Shapiro’s leadership of NUMEC, the Israeli nuclear effort went from success to success. Israel effectively got the bomb when the French did in 1960. It is likely that the Israelis carried out an underground test in the Negev Desert in 1963. And in addition to the theft of HEU from NUMEC, Israel “allegedly” stole a large shipment of uranium yellowcake at sea in 1968. This act of piracy was a Mossad-directed affair called Operation Plumbat.

The Israelis also tested a nuclear bomb in cooperation with the South African government in 1979 in the southern Indian Ocean which was detected by an American Vela Hotel satellite.  As with all things related to Israel, there has been all sorts of playing stupid, evasions, and counter-theories in the infosphere regarding what the satellite actually picked up. However, it must be pointed out that this satellite was designed and put into orbit with the specific aim of monitoring for above-ground nuclear tests to verify compliance with the 1963 international Partial Test Ban Treaty, and the double-flash signature it detected was consistent with a nuclear test. Mattson implies that the Carter administration covered the incident up to secure the Jewish vote.

NUMEC was a critical component of Israel’s Manhattan Project – but unlike the American effort, it was non-Israelis who paid the price. In 1967, NUMEC was purchased by the Atlantic Richfield Corporation. This got the original Zionist investors, including Shapiro, off the hook in future lawsuits, costs for clean-up, and so on. The plant finally ceased producing nuclear fuel in 1983.

By the time President Lyndon Johnson was presented evidence of the true scope of the theft at NUMEC, there was little he could do. LBJ was already in over his head in Vietnam,  and American society was wrought with social conflict. Later presidents likewise found that there was little they could do, and even less benefit in trying.

Despite the overwhelming evidence presented in Stealing the Bomb, there have never been any prosecutions, so every part of this affair must be termed “alleged.” Mattson offers the following lessons learned:

  1. The NUMEC experience shows that dual loyalties make the control of nuclear weapons technology harder than normal.
  2. The Israeli policy of nuclear opacity impedes progress towards a nuclear-weapons-free Middle East.
  3. Arbitrary secrecy blocks citizens’ rights and abilities to assess their government’s actions.

Lessons for the Alt Right from the NUMEC Affair

Good Government

The study of the art and science of government is essential for the revolutionaries of the Alt Right. The NUMEC incident occurred at the intersection of the responsibilities of the FBI, the CIA, and the AEC. These three agencies have different purposes and outlooks. The AEC was a new organization at the time whose regulations were based on the presumption that those in the nuclear industry were acting in good faith. The CIA operates in the shadows, often gathering evidence that cannot be used in court, often doesn’t want its sources and techniques made public, and is willing to tolerate a spy provided that said spy can be used to its own advantage. The CIA had a good read on Israel’s nuclear program and even knew where Israel’s HEU was coming from, but due to the aforementioned reasons and lack of political will, it didn’t act on it. And lastly, the FBI is a law enforcement agency which prosecutes any spies that are caught. It is also an agency that enjoys the limelight of high-profile successes. The NUMEC situation offered no rewards in the limelight. Additionally, the theft of HEU from NUMEC was perceived as difficult to prove in court. It was also fraught with so much political risk that the FBI was reluctant to fully investigate it. As Mattson puts it, “The Bureau was also sensitive to potential pushback from Israel.”[6]

Since the NUMEC situation, and especially after 9/11, the United States government has moved to force the FBI and CIA to cooperate better, but big egos and a culture of competition is hard to overcome. Additionally, the problem is one of a specific, politically powerful ethnic group, and at this time US government policy specifically calls for blindness in that area. However, describing the problem is the first step in finding a solution.

International Problems are Used to the Advantage of Israel and the Organized Jewish Community

Israel and the organized Jewish community exploit the problems of other nations and people to get what they want. For example, the high-end nuclear reactor at Dimona was developed in part due to French anger with the Americans over Suez. Mattson also shows how French problems in Algeria in the 1950s and 1960s were used to Israel’s advantage. The Egyptians were supporting the Algerian rebels, so the French gave advanced jet fighters to Israel to act as a counterbalance against Egypt. The French lost Algeria, but Israel kept the jets.

Israel likewise benefited from America’s Cold War difficulties. During this period of international tension, the Israelis duped the Americans in the same way as they duped the French. Atoms for Peace was part of America’s anti-Soviet strategy. The Eisenhower administration thought that the peaceful application of nuclear technology would help halt the spread of Communism. However, this policy ended up accelerating Israel’s nuclear program, as well as those of others. Because of Atoms for Peace, writes [7] Peter R. Lavoy of the Arms Control Association:

. . . [The Americans] were guilty of wishful thinking. They had too much confidence in their ability to control the nuclear behavior of other countries. To make matters worse, their emphasis on the scientific, commercial, and political benefits of U.S. nuclear exports prevented them from paying adequate attention to the security needs and perceptions of recipient countries, several of which would go on to misuse U.S. assistance.

In 1966, the Americans delivered A-4E Skyhawk fighters, which were capable of delivering nuclear weapons, to Israel over the objections of the US State Department.[7] At that time, observers noticed that the Israeli Air Force had started practicing bombing runs typical of those used for the delivery of nuclear weapons. And since the 1960s, America has continued to equip Israel with sophisticated weaponry.

Seen from the perspective of an America First foreign policy, it is clear that Israel is not an ally but a burden. With that in mind, it could very well be that the current mainstream media-fueled escalation of tensions between the United States and Russia is part of a deliberate push by the organized Jewish community to make trouble for their own and Israel’s benefit.

Economic Distress is Used to the Advantage of Israel and the Organized Jewish Community

The Zionists who set up NUMEC were able to do so because American industry was already declining in the 1950s.[8] People in the American industrial midlands, such as where Apollo, Pennsylvania is situated, were desperate for investment and jobs. This made whistleblowing harder to do and questions harder to ask. For example, many of NUMEC’s former employees suffer from or have died from cancer, and today, cleaning up radioactive waste in Apollo remains an issue [8].

US Government Security Policy Ignores the Very Real Possibility of Disloyalty from Jews

The fact that the capital to get NUMEC started was transferred by using David Lowenthal as an intermediary should have been a warning to the US government and the AEC. Lowenthal’s 2006 obituary stated that he was a dedicated Zionist. He moved to the United States in 1932 from Poland, served in the US military during the Second World War, and became a “citizen” in 1945. Despite being a putative American citizen, Lownethal actually worked to further Israeli interests. He was in charge of the defenses on the ship Exodus 1947, which illegally transferred Jews from Europe to Palestine in 1947. At that time, Palestine was still under British control, and Jewish immigration was banned in order to avoid further tensions with the Arabs. The story of this ship was the subject of the 1960 movie Exodus [9] directed by Otto Preminger. Lowenthal also served in the Haganah militia during the 1948 Israeli-Arab war, and later served with Israeli military intelligence and Mossad from 1963 to 1968.

It is important to emphasize that even with Lowenthal’s obvious loyalty towards global Jewry and Israel, the US government nevertheless issued sensitive contracts and security clearances to those at NUMEC. This policy is even more questionable given that it occurred in the teeth of the fact that the secrecy and proprietary information regarding America’s nuclear programs has been subverted by Jews from the beginning of the Atomic Age. Jewish spies who passed nuclear information to the Soviets famously include David Greenglass and Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The spy Klaus Fuchs was German, not Jewish, but eight of the other nine members of his spy ring were, including Harry Gold, who personally delivered nuclear secrets to Moscow.

The US government also issued a security clearance to Zalman Shapiro, and they didn’t pull Shapiro’s security clearance even after they discovered that Shapiro had “expressed no allegiance to the United States but [had] stated he would fight for Israel and [was] believed to be seriously contemplating migrating to Israel.”[9]

Mattson also points out that the FBI deliberately redacted much of the critical information regarding Shapiro’s pro-Israeli sympathies:

It appears FBI made the redactions to protect Shapiro’s privacy. Since it is reasonable to expect that the Bureau learned of Shapiro’s extensive activities connected with Israel while doing its background checks, it follows that those activities are probably hidden by the redactions. Shapiro, however, was open about those activities. Years later he listed them for an oral history compiled by the National Council of Jewish Women in the Pittsburgh area. Shapiro said he was an officer of the Technion Society, an American organization promoting education in science and technology in Israel through support of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. The Technion website lists him as an Honorary Life Member. He was a director for Hillel, a Foundation for Jewish Campus Life at more than 500 colleges and universities. He performed volunteer work for the Jewish Federation and the Anti-Defamation League. He was a life member of the Jewish National Fund and served as national vice president of the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA), the oldest and, at one time, one of the largest pro-Israel organizations in the United States. Jewish Americans founded ZOA in 1897 to support the establishment of a Jewish State in Palestine. ZOA helped to mobilize support for the creation of Israel in 1948. Shapiro has been active in ZOA for many years. On November 24, 2008, more than 500 people attended its National Dinner at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City where they feted a number of people for contributions to the cause and honored board members Henry Schwartz and Zalman Shapiro for their contributions to the development of Israeli anti-missile technology.[10]

For the time being, Israeli connections such as these don’t automatically revoke or stop a security clearance from being issued, despite ongoing problems with Israeli espionage. The American people (and consequently, the American government) have yet to develop a metapolitical, immune-system response to Jewish disloyalty and schemes.

If in Government, Beware . . .

When reading this book I couldn’t help but think of a very ugly truth. It may very well be that any “friendship” that a Jew purports to have with a gentile working in a high-level job is insincere. Zalman Shapiro had a “close friendship” with AEC Chairman Glenn T. Seaborg [10] (1912-1999). This insincere friendship aided Shapiro’s efforts to send HEU to Israel. For example, the Assistant Director for Safeguards and Security at the AEC, Earle Hightower:

. . . alleged that Seaborg’s close friendship with Shapiro meant NUMEC’s violations of AEC rules would largely be ignored. “We submitted report after report and it went nowhere. My immediate superior . . . would take it to the general manager and it generally died there because the general manager knew Seaborg would not do anything. It was frustrating.”[11]

When Shapiro applied to get a higher security clearance, agencies such as the FBI and the Justice Department moved to stop it, but Seaborg intervened at the highest levels of government to get it for him. This caused an impasse. It was resolved by finding Shapiro a job at Westinghouse Power Systems. There was no punishment.

Another name that comes up in this story, one that is related to other aspects of Israel’s influence on the US, is Abe Feinberg [11] (1908-1998). He was [12] a fundraiser for the Dimona nuclear plant and was involved in clandestine weapons smuggling to Israel. Feinberg was also a big-time donor to the Democratic Party. He was “friends” with presidents Harry S. Truman and Lyndon B. Johnson. After the Israeli sneak attack on the USS Liberty in 1967, Abe Feinberg kept in close contact with LBJ and advised the Israeli government on what LBJ was thinking so that they could shift their public relations narrative in such a way as to keep the Johnson administration and American public opinion pro-Israel. The Israeli government referred to Feinberg as “Hamlet” in secret communiqués. In short, you are being used.


Jews, even those who live among Americans, are working full throttle against Americans’ interests. An example of this can be found in the Christian-Jewish relationship, specifically in their responses to the social decline that has been taking place since the 1960s. The Evangelical Protestant movement and the Catholic Church have been waging a cultural war for decades. These dedicated Christians have taken stands that are pro-life, anti-LGBTQ, anti-pornography, anti-gay marriage, and so on. While doing this, Evangelical Protestant preachers in particular are slavishly pro-Israel, and preach favorably about Jews. Whatever one thinks about the culture war, it must be pointed out that while Evangelical Protestants praise and support Jews to the skies, in the cultural war, Jews work against them.

It is the same at the national level. The American people and their government’s actual interests include the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, stability in the Middle East, and peaceable relations with everyone in the region. Israel and the organized Jewish community work against these efforts. Jewish influence in the American government and media has rendered US involvement in the Syrian Civil War a disaster, has made the ISIS fight more difficult to win, and kept the US and Iran from reaching a long-overdue rapprochement.

Ultimately, Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons is an appalling disaster, and yet no tears have been shed on the Israeli side. Their aggressive recklessness, as well as that of the organized Jewish community, and their lack of empathy for others makes the Israeli bomb far more likely to be used than those held by any other power. As Kevin MacDonald wrote, “Events that happened five hundred years ago are still fresh in the minds of Jewish activists – a phenomenon that should give pause to everyone in an age when Israel has control of nuclear weapons and long-range delivery systems.”[12]



1. Mattson writes, “Some twenty-five millionaires were said to have contributed around $40 million for Dimona. Former Treasury Secretary Henry Morgenthau, Jr. assisted [Abe] Feinberg by coordinating donors from the Sonneborn Institute. Feinberg was the youngest contributor. Other donors included Samuel Zacks, head of the Canadian Zionist Organization, Louis Bloomfield, Canadian member of OSS during World War II and later legal counsel to another Dimona contributor, Samuel Bronfman, founder of Seagram Whiskey.” (Kindle loc. 832)

2. “In his Battling for Peace: A Memoir, Peres said he reached an agreement with the key French officials for them to supply a reactor at a secret meeting in France where Israel, Britain and France adopted a mutual assistance strategy for rolling back the Egyptian occupation of the Suez Canal. Professor and historian Avner Cohen said the French officials apparently did not inform French President Charles de Gaulle about the nuclear aspects of the agreement even though they knew that the reactor would be used in a nuclear weapons program.” (Kindle loc. 728)

3. Kindle loc. 783.

4. Kindle loc. 1609.

5. For further reading on criticality accidents, read from loc. 1121.

6. Loc. 2743.

7. Loc. 2218.

8. It is important to note that American industry started to decline at about the same time that the United States gained control of, and then stabilized South Korea and Japan. After that, industry began to be transferred from the American Midwest to Northeast Asia. Additionally, American involvement in South Korea is a quagmire which other nations use to their advantage. In his campaign, Donald Trump promised to label China a currency manipulator. After three months in office, North Korea has threatened to resume nuclear weapons testing and has launched missiles into the sea near Japan. To deal with the crisis, Trump had to drop the currency manipulator label to get Chinese support. It is very likely that the Chinese have a contingency plan to use their North Korean ally to increase pressure on the US should the Americans start to take their own side in the lopsided Sino-American trade relationship. Because of America’s offer of protection to its South Korean “ally,” the United States has less ability to protect its own industries. This protection has not been in America’s interests since the end of the Cold War. End the alliance with South Korea, and the trade issues with Asia will become easier to resolve.

9. Loc. 2733.

10. Kindle loc. 1840, 1841.

11. Kindle loc. 5505.

12. Kevin B. MacDonald, Understanding Jewish Influence: A Study in Ethnic Activism [13] (Augusta, Ga.: Washington Summit Publishers, 2004), p. 10.