Israel's ambiguous nuclear posture is basically a diplomatic fiction but it signals self restraint and caution. The main purpose of the Israeli nuclear image has been deterrence; however, the policy has not in fact deterred armed violence against the state, and it was only a secondary factor in inducing Arab regimes to seek peace. The policy has not contributed significantly to regional stability, but nor has it been a major factor in fostering instability. Currently, the probability of situations requiring the actual exercise of Israeli nuclear deterrence is extremely low. Iranian nuclearization will create a very different strategic environment, but whether Israel will have to change its ambiguous posture as a result remains to be seen.
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