Russia’s Defense Ministry confirms Soviet sorties over Dimona in 1967

Last Friday the Jerusalem Post published an article citing a recent statement made by chief spokesman of Russia’s Air Force, Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, who publicly acknowledged a major historical detail related to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War (Six Days’ War).

The detail refers to reconnaissance flights over Israel, specifically one flight by Colonel Aleksandr Bezhevets. The flights over the Israeli compound of Dimona confirms the position two Yale University Press authors present in their recently released book, Foxbats Over Dimona.

Foxbats Over Dimona: The Soviets' Nuclear Gamble in the Six-Day War: Isabella Ginor and Gideon Remez In the Jerusalem Post article, co-authors Gideon Remez and Isabella Ginor described this “extraordinary disclosure” as “official confirmation of the book’s exhibit A and the source of its title.” Details here.

Monday’s NY Sun article expanded on this recent development: “…it would be instructive to look at the case made by two journalists-turned-historians, Ms. Ginor and Mr. Remez, who have recently posited one of the most fascinating explanations yet offered on the origins of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war that changed much of modern history.

“According to their new book, “Foxbats Over Dimona” ( Yale University Press), the Six-Day War started because the Soviet Union was concerned about Israel‘s nascent nuclear program, having initially learned about it from an Israeli Communist Party leader, Moshe Sneh, who might have worked in the service of Mother Russia, or Zionism, or both.

“The ‘Foxbats’ in the title refer to the then-experimental MiGÂ-25 reconnaissance bombers that, according to the authors’ reporting, flew over the secret Israeli compound in Dimona in May 1967, primarily to map out plans for the destruction of Israel’s emerging nuclear facility there, which the Soviets planned to demolish under the fog of a war between the Jewish state and its Arab neighbors, a war to be launched at Soviet instigation.

“Confirmation of the authors’ contention was first reported in the Jerusalem Post last week, when the chief spokesman for Russia’s Air Force, Colonel Aleksandr Drobyshevsky, wrote what sounds a lot like a Russian version of ‘The Right Stuff’ in official publications. Describing the extraordinary abilities of Russian test pilots, Mr. Drobyshevsky allowed that one decorated hero, Colonel Aleksandr Bezhevets, performed ‘unique reconnaissance flights over the territory of Israel in a MiGÂ-25RB aircraft’ in 1967.”
To read the entire article, click here.

On the heels of this breaking news, Foreign Affairs just released their review of Foxbats Over Dimona, calling the book, “a book that is truly revisionist, challenging what we thought we knew about the origins and conduct of the Six-Day War….The exact role played by the Soviet Union has always been murky. The authors work their way through the murk, meticulously using every snippet of relevant information….By its nature, this is an impossible case to prove, but Ginor and Remez have succeeded to the point where the onus is now on others to show why they are wrong.”
Read the full Foreign Affairs review.

From Yale University Press:
Read an excerpt of Foxbats Over Dimona
Browse the table of contents
Listen to the authors’ podcast

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