Israel’s Nuclear Weapons: Assessing the Possibility and Implications of Their Use

  Recently, Israeli Congressman Revital “Tally” Gotliv actually told the media that Israel should use nuclear weapons to retaliate against Hamas’s attacks on Israel.
  Gotliff also wrote on her social media: “Jericho missiles! Jericho missiles! Strategic alert. Before considering troops coming in. Doomsday weapons (used)! This is my opinion. May God bless us all The power of.”
  Later she publicly declared that “Only an explosion that shakes the Middle East can restore the dignity, strength and security of this country (referring to Israel)! It’s time to kiss the end of the world. Launch powerful missiles without limit. Don’t level a country. Neighborhoods, to crush and level the entire Gaza…No mercy! No mercy!”
  Clearly, this was an outright nuclear threat. Gottliff is a lawyer and an opponent of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Her remarks have always been known for being extreme and crazy, so her extreme remarks this time were not regarded by anyone as a serious nuclear threat. .
  However, we have to admit the fact that Israel is indeed the only country in the Middle East that possesses nuclear weapons, and it almost decided to use nuclear weapons to save the defeat in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
  Although there is now a lot of public opinion that if anti-Israel allies such as Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah join the war together, Hamas’s goal of completely destroying Israel is expected to be achieved. But even if we do not take into account the fact that the combined conventional military strength of these opponents is still far behind that of Israel, as well as the fact that two US aircraft carriers are within easy reach, and only consider the existence of Israel’s nuclear power, if Israel is completely defeated, this war will be The possibility of escalation to a nuclear war cannot be ruled out.
  So is Israel actually ready to use nuclear weapons? To answer this question, we first need to understand what kind of nuclear power Israel has and what is the positioning of its nuclear strategy?
  Since Israel does not accept the supervision of its nuclear facilities by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the Israeli government has always implemented a vague nuclear strategy, neither admitting nor denying the possession of nuclear weapons, and has never announced the deployment of its nuclear weapons, it is difficult for the outside world to know how many nuclear weapons Israel possesses. , and whether nuclear weapons are in a state of war readiness.
  The international arms control research community now generally believes that Israel possesses at least 90 nuclear weapons and also preserves key nuclear materials that can produce 200-300 nuclear weapons. Although Israel’s nuclear weapons are very small, it is one of the very few countries with a triad of nuclear strike capabilities.
  Israel has Jericho medium-range ballistic missiles with a range that can cover the entire Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia. This system is considered the core of Israel’s land-based nuclear strike force. The latest Jericho 3 missile has a range of 4,800 meters kilometers, enough to cover Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, and even Moscow, the capital of Russia.
  The Israeli Air Force’s F-16 and F-15 fighter jets are both capable of carrying nuclear bombs. It is even generally believed that Israel’s customized F-35 fighter jets will have the ability to drop nuclear bombs. It is expected that the Israeli Air Force will have at least 30 in its arsenal. Aerial nuclear bombs similar to the American B-61 are the core of Israel’s preemptive nuclear strike force. It maintains a very high level of combat readiness and can launch nuclear attacks from the air at any time, posing a great threat to neighboring hostile countries.

  Israel is also one of the very few countries with underwater nuclear forces. Although it is not equipped with nuclear-powered submarines, the Dolphin-class conventionally-powered submarines in service in its navy are equipped with nuclear cruise missiles. Now that the Israeli army and air force no longer exist, , the submarine force can still carry out doomsday strike missions.
  This triad of nuclear strike capabilities enables Israel, despite its small land area, to possess nuclear combat capabilities that surpass those of Britain and France. It is one of the few countries that can carry out preemptive nuclear strikes against major deterrence targets. If Israel really faces the risk of national annihilation, it is very likely to use nuclear weapons at the last moment in a desperate move. In fact, Israel’s nuclear deterrent took shape after the Fourth Middle East War. This was also one of the strategic considerations for secular Arab countries such as Egypt to normalize relations with Israel.
  Congressman Gotliff’s statement that nuclear weapons should be used in Gaza is obviously just a personal statement. No matter how crazy Israel is, the radiation fallout after the nuclear explosion is an unacceptable and catastrophic consequence for Israel, which is very close. However, if the war expands and Iran directly participates in the war, then Israel’s use of nuclear weapons is not an impossible option.
  In May 2023, Israel conducted a joint exercise with the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Israel’s combat plan is likely to include the option of launching a nuclear strike against Iran in extreme circumstances. This Hamas attack is generally considered to be the worst situation Israel has encountered after the Yom Kippur War. If Israel had prepared for a nuclear strike in 1973, it is not ruled out that there will be relevant plans this time. What’s worse is that the number and means of use of the Israeli military’s nuclear weapons have now far exceeded those of the past. Therefore, the international community should be alert to the possibility and harm of Israel preparing to use nuclear weapons.

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