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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Matityahu Peled, 1987

Part of War and Peace in the Nuclear Age.


Matityahu Peled was a member of the Knesset, a General in the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), and a professor of Arabic Studies, at the University of Tel Aviv, Israel. In the interview he discusses the importance of nuclear non-proliferation in the Middle East. He discounts arguments for why Israel should possess nuclear weapons, and argues instead that it is very important for Israel to sign the non-proliferation treaty to assure the Arab countries that Israel is not developing a weapon, and that not signing such a treaty could encourage the Arab countries towards nuclearization. He also describes his views on the Israeli bombing of the Iraqi nuclear reactor. He goes on to assess the problems with maintaining Israel’s nuclear capability, and offers his opinion that Israel and South Africa are cooperating on nuclear weapons. He explains the absence of Knesset debate on the subject by pointing to Israeli laws allowing the government either to squelch such discussion or to withhold access to relevant information.

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War and Peace in the Nuclear Age
Carter's New World
Program Number



Interview with Matityahu Peled, 1987

Series Description

The first atomic explosion in the New Mexico desert on July 16, 1945, changed the world forever. This series chronicles these changes and the history of a new era. It traces the development of nuclear weapons, the evolution of nuclear strategy, and the politics of a world with the power to destroy itself.

In thirteen one-hour programs that combine historic footage and recent interviews with key American, Soviet, and European participants, the nuclear age unfolds: the origin and evolution of nuclear weapons; the people of the past who have shaped the events of the present; the ideas and issues that political leaders, scientists, and the public at large must confront, and the prospects for the future. Nuclear Age highlights the profound changes in contemporary thinking imposed by the advent of nuclear weapons. Series release date: 1/1989

Program Description

President Carter comes to office determined to reduce the number of nuclear weapons and to improve relations with the Soviet Union. His frustrations are as grand as his intentions.

Carter had hoped the United States and the Soviet Union would reduce their reliance on nuclear weapons. He stopped production of the B-1 bomber. He believed the SALT II negotiations would be a step toward eliminating nuclear weapons. But his intentions were frustrated by Soviet actions and by a lack of consensus among his own advisors, including Chief SALT II negotiator Paul Warnke and national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski (who was dubious about arms control). Carter balanced Soviet aggression in Africa by improving American relations with China. He withdrew SALT II treaty from Senate consideration but its terms continued to serve as general limits on strategic nuclear force levels for both the United States and the Soviet Union.



Asset Type

Raw video

Media Type


Nuclear nonproliferation
Nuclear weapons
United States
Middle East
Soviet Union
Mishkan ha-Keneset (Jerusalem)
United Nations
War and Conflict
Global Affairs
Peled, Matityahu (Interviewee)
Publication Information
WGBH Educational Foundation
Chicago: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Matityahu Peled, 1987,” 01/21/1987, GBH Archives, accessed December 11, 2023,
MLA: “War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Matityahu Peled, 1987.” 01/21/1987. GBH Archives. Web. December 11, 2023. <>.
APA: War and Peace in the Nuclear Age; Carter's New World; Interview with Matityahu Peled, 1987. Boston, MA: GBH Archives. Retrieved from
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