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N. Korea's nuclear defiance may embolden Iran, Israelis worry

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"This is open season for nukes," says Uzi Rubin, a former military Israeli intelligence officer who served as head of Israel's Missile Defense Organization from 1991-99. The North Korea test last week was a "watershed event. It means that even if you have minimal technology and are isolated, if you really concentrate on it, you can get nuclear technology."

Israel pushes for strong international response

Mr. Rubin adds that international diplomacy is useless if not backed up by a credible threat of force.

"Here we have a country [North Korea] that has reneged on all of its international commitements and gone nuclear against the advice of all the international community. Other countries considering to do the same will now be watching and drawing conclusions," says Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the foreign ministry.

In the wake of North Korea's test last week, a foreign ministry statement called on the international community to "respond decisively ... so as to transmit an unambiguous message," Haaretz reported.

Addressing an Asian security conference in Singapore this weekend, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the US would not tolerate a nuclear North Korea, and warned that if diplomacy failed, tougher measures would be considered.

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