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Israel to pursue nanotechnology weapons

It had to happen somewhere: the first country to publicly state they are planning to use nanotechnology in weapons is…Israel. Before now, to my knowledge, only defensive uses have been discussed in public. From the Sydney Morning Herald:

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has given the green light for Israel to set up a special office to develop a nanotechnology arsenal.

Yediot Aharonot said that Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres had been told to choose 15 top thinkers to focus on developing futuristic weaponry. The 15 would be selected from within the security establishment, the world of hi-tech and academia.

If their projects succeed, they will provide Israel with a response to the various threats from Palestinian rockets, suicide bombers, to long-range missiles and non-convential weapons, the newspaper said Friday.

From Spiegel Online:

The Israeli government plans to invest $230 million in nanotechnology research and development over the next five years, which would make nanoscience one of Israel’s most heavily invested R&D fields.

“The war in Lebanon proved that we need smaller weaponry,” said Deputy Prime Minister Shimon Peres. “It’s illogical to send a plane worth $100 million against a suicidal terrorist. So we are building futuristic weapons.”

Other ideas include miniature sensors to detect suicide bombers and “bionic man” gloves that would give the user super-human strength. Prototypes for the new weapons could be ready within three years, Peres said…

But the problem with such weapons is that insurgents and terrorists can use them, too.

Indeed. That is certainly a problem. Misuse of nanotech-based weapons may be the biggest problem of the 21st century. —Christine

10 Responses to “Israel to pursue nanotechnology weapons”

  1. Tapani Says:

    Creating even more deadly weapons, then those used today, is not development. It is stupidity, large scale, dangerous stupidity. Inabilty to figure out and maintain solutions, that would not require killing those who are somehow opposed to your political and ecomical goals.
    I’m not suprised, but still I feel disappointed. Our species can never achieve its fullest potential, we are too busy destroying ourselves.

  2. John Joyce Says:

    We use to aspire from ‘swords to plowshares’ now it it seems to be the other way round.

  3. Brian Wang Says:

    It sounds to me like the Isreali’s are working on advanced robotics, MEMS and maybe NEMS.

    In terms of advanced weapons being usable by the enemy, the side that makes advanced weapons usually has far better access to them than their enemy. Captured weapons are a small percentage. Plus for weapons for which there is some concern, a military version of lojack (anti-car theft) systems can be put into them. Advanced tech also allows for other security measures to be taken relatively easily.

    It is not necessarily more deadly weapons that are being created. But sensors to make targeting more effective and cost reduction for more cost effective measures.

  4. Tapani Says:

    So they are actually weapons that save lives? I have also noticed, that the trend seems to be towards ‘plowshares to swords’, but I don’t have to like it. The fact that everyone is thinking the same way makes the trend in no way any less dangerous.

    If only some other institute, than the military, could fund science.

  5. girardjl Says:

    possible Countermeasures will be found for a fraction of the cost of the measure implemented here.

  6. Mike Fearey Says:

    i think nanotechnology is the new age, the industrial age is ending and so starts a new one. nanotechnology is not necessarily going to be used just for war fare. it can be used for other important procedures such as destroying cancer cells in the body with nanotechnology and fighting and finding other cures for vaious diseases. with many more possiblities to boot

  7. TJohnson Says:

    Tapani, I like your comment a lot: “Inabilty to figure out and maintain solutions, that would not require killing those who are somehow opposed to your political and economical goals.” How about this for starters: Stop trying to base or justify foreign policy on the basis of a “revealed book.” What would happen to the peace process if no one tried to justify their proposed foreign policy on the basis of a book purportedly from God? Barring that principle it’s easy to predict a violent outcome: how can you negotiate with someone when you’re convinced you’re speaking God’s word and they don’t believe you are?

  8. William Krause Says:

    This non-partisan cultural relativism is well and good, but any student of history willing to look squarely at the facts knows that nuclear weapons under the control of fundmentalist Shiite Iran makes possible an attack on Israel which if successful would initiate a new thousand-year Dark Ages of ignorance, brutality, and cruelty of nightmarish proportions. If the Israelis are attempting to develop nano-weapons to rescue themselves and the West and thereby secure a humanistic future for all humanity, let them be encouraged, and not censured by those whose political perspectives are of such unsophistication as would better remain on Sesame Street. Yes, sometimes in human affairs undesirable actions must be taken to circumscribe and prevent greater evil.

  9. ET Says:


  10. Malachi Raginomics Says:

    I disagree with Tapani’s remark in saying that “Creating even more deadly weapons, then those used today, is not development. It is stupidity, large scale, dangerous stupidity.”

    As a Small Arms Repair Technician myself; I believe that it is close minded to imply that nanotechology should not be used to further military firepower. This is not a unified world, it could be considered “stupidity” for any nation to AVOID using technological advancement to enhance offensive/defensive capability. Would you rather wait until you are completely annihilated by a nation that does not share the same “ethics” as you do?

    The development of more powerful weapons will continue regardless of national/local sanctions and guidelines. Emerging devices for warfare is unavoidable and it is naive to behave as if our nation can afford to neglect the development of such technology in the event that we may actually have to use such mechanisms against the enemies of the future. So keep that in mind. It is no different a concept then maintaining submarines armed with nuclear munitions for the purpose of a counter-attack scenario.

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