Is Israel a nuclear power?

  • An Israeli minister says nuking Gaza is an option.
  • The minister later called it a metaphorical reference.
  • Israel suspended the minister.
  • Netanyahu disavowed the comment.

But is Israel a nuclear power?

  • The country has been silent on this issue.
  • Has never publicly conducted a nuclear test.
  • Has not declared a nuclear weapons programme.
  • Has not officially acknowledged having nukes.
  • But it is widely believed Israel is a nuclear power.
  • The 6th country to build nuclear weapons.
  • Has not signed the NPT.

The Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI)

  • 90 – estimated nuclear warheads.
  • Plutonium stockpile – 980 Kg – enough for 170 to 278 nukes.
  • 3 nuke submarines – can launch nuclear cruise missiles. 

Arms Control Association

  • 90 – estimated nuclear warheads.
  • Fissile materials – enough for 200 more nukes.

The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

  • Nuclear test – possibly did in 1979 – with South Africa. 
  • Known as the Vela Incident or the Vela Event of 1979.
  • Location – over the ocean between the southern part of Africa and the Antarctic.
  • 90 nuclear weapons.
  • Can launch nuclear weapons from missiles, submarines, and aircraft.
  • US$1.2 billion – spent by Israel on its nuclear forces in 2022.

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