Nuclear Ambiguity No More? Israeli Knesset Member Calls for Nuclear Response to Hamas Attacks
Written by: Sam Orlando
STAUNTON, VIRGINIA - Breaking Through News is focusing on the ever changing crisis in Israel. Our reporters were surprised to find a member of Israel's parliament openly calling for the use of nuclear weapons, weapons the nation has never, until now, acknowledged that it possessed.
In a series of striking social media proclamations, Israeli Knesset member Revital "Tally" Gotliv, a member of the Likud party, has caused a stir by invoking the possibility of nuclear retaliation in response to attacks by Hamas. Her choice of words, referencing the "Jericho Missile," adds an extra layer of controversy to her statements.
The backdrop is sobering: The Associated Press reports that combined fatalities from recent Hamas-launched attacks have exceeded 1,600 Israelis and Palestinians, with many more injured. This escalation also includes the harrowing detail of Hamas reportedly taking hostages.
Gotliv's social media posts, made on the platform X (formerly known as Twitter), include explicit references to Israel's potent but unacknowledged nuclear capabilities. "Jericho Missile! Jericho Missile! Strategic alert... Doomsday weapon! This is my opinion. May God preserve all our strength," Gotliv fervently wrote.
The "Jericho Missile" Gotliv cites is a well-known reference to Israel's family of medium and intercontinental range ballistic missiles. Although Israel maintains a stance of nuclear ambiguity—neither confirming nor denying its possession of nuclear weapons—the Jericho missiles are widely understood to be part of its potential nuclear deterrence arsenal. The very mention of such a weapon in a public call to arms underscores the extremity of Gotliv's rhetoric and brings Israel's unspoken nuclear capabilities to the forefront of public discourse.
Nikolai Sokov, a senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, commented on the broader trend of "loose talk" surrounding nuclear arms, a trend amplified by recent conflicts such as the war in Ukraine and the escalating situation in Gaza. Sokov pointedly remarked that for Israel, a nation that hasn't officially acknowledged its nuclear capabilities, such acknowledgments via indirect channels could tarnish its global image. He also highlighted the limited practicality of nuclear weapons in the region, given the close proximity of potential targets and the risk of self-inflicted damage.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant have backed the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in their actions. Interestingly, Gotliv has been a critic of Netanyahu in the past, even accusing the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) of aiding Palestinian "terrorists," according to reports from The Jerusalem Post. Netanyahu's leadership has come under scrutiny, with criticisms highlighting alleged security lapses that have led to the most devastating attack on Israeli soil in over five decades. The left-leaning newspaper Haaretz sharpened this narrative with a recent op-ed titled, "Netanyahu: Resign Now!"
In the complex web of Middle Eastern geopolitics, the sudden and public invocation of nuclear retaliation by an Israeli official serves as a stark reminder of the underlying tensions and potential escalations at play. As technology democratizes access to information and allows for instantaneous global communication, the weight of words—especially those touching on nuclear capabilities—carries consequences that can echo far beyond national borders.