Jerusalem – Yesterday, Israel’s daily Maariv newspaper published a short interview with former CIA Director and former U.S. Secretary of Defense Dr. James Schlesinger, who offered Israel dire warnings.

“Israel will face the most severe existential threat in its history in the next year,” Dr. Schlesinger told Maariv, adding, “I would expect the Israelis to choose for their leadership the people with the greatest experience in national security.”

His prediction came as Israel prepares to elect a new prime minister due to the anticipated early departure of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert who is facing corruption charges.

Dr. Schlesinger spoke also as the former U.S. secretary of energy, and one of the foremost experts in the U.S. on employing nuclear force and the nuclear balance of power. He had earned this distinction as secretary of defense during the Yom Kippur War. He is considered a conservative Republican and a security expert.

He also is a convert from Judaism who left his faith during his college years.

He was pressed further by the interviewer for Maariv.

“Do you recommend that Israel act alone against the Iranian nuclear program?” the Maariv reporter asked him.

He didn’t bite: “I am not recommending to the Israeli government what to do,” he said. “That is what you have a government for. I can only tell you that in the past 60 years, Israel has survived because it knew how to meet security challenges, because it was attentive to them and they were at the center of its agenda. Now the toughest security challenge of all is rising up in front of you. The Iranian regime, armed with nuclear weapons, means an existential danger. You must not make light of it. In such days, there must be people with experience in this field at the helm.”

The current U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently appointed Dr. Schlesinger to head a special task force to examine the needs of the United States in the area of nuclear security, and mainly aerial security of the nuclear arms standing at the disposal of the U.S.

Dr. Schlesinger submitted his recommendations over the past few days. They were firm: Invest resources in renewing, updating and retaining American nuclear capability with regard to the air branch, he said.

Mr. Gates’ team has determined this ability has rusted and been neglected in the past years, since the end of the Cold War. Mr. Gates and his team have concluded that now that a new Cold War seems to be in motion, the party is over, and it’s time to get back to work.

David Bedein can be reached at His Web site is

©The Bulletin 2008


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David Bedein
David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: and A new site,, will be launched very soon.