Skip to content
Zev Chafets

Israel Has a Playbook for Dealing With North Korea

Saddam and Assad both tried to build the ultimate threat. The Israelis made sure it didn't happen.
Saddam's nuclear dream ended in ashes.

Saddam's nuclear dream ended in ashes.

Photographer: Ramzi Haidar/AFP/Getty Images

Israel and North Korea are on opposite sides of the Asian landmass, separated by 5,000 miles as the ICBM flies. But Israelis feels close to the nuclear standoff between Washington and Pyongyang. They have faced this sort of crisis before, and may again.

Some history: In the mid-1970s, it became clear to Israel that Iraq’s Saddam Hussein was working on acquiring nuclear weapons and missiles to deliver them. Saddam had already demonstrated an uninhibited brutality in dealing with his internal enemies and his neighbors. He aspired to be the leader of the Arab world. Defeating Israel was at the top of his to-do list.