An Israeli official has called for the use of a “doomsday” nuclear missile, though the country has long declined to admit having them.
Revital “Tally” Gotliv, an Israeli lawyer and member of the Knesset for the Likud, made the comments in posts to X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.
Gotliv made the series of posts in response to Hamas’ deadly attack on Israel on Saturday. Over 1,600 Israelis and Palestinians have died in the fighting during and since.
“Jericho Missile! Jericho Missile! Strategic alert. before considering the introduction of forces. Doomsday weapon! This is my opinion. May God preserve all our strength,” Gotliv wrote on X on Monday, according to the machine translation provided by the platform.
טיל יריחו! טיל יריחו! התרעה אסטרטגית. לפני ששוקלים הכנסת כוחות.
נשק יום הדין! זו דעתי.
ה׳ ישמור את כוחותינו כולם.
— טלי גוטליב (@TallyGotliv) October 9, 2023
Another post said “I urge you to do everything and use Doomsday weapons fearlessly against our enemies,” adding that her country “must use everything in its arsenal.”
On Tuesday, she began to call for further escalation.
“Only an explosion that shakes the Middle East will restore this country’s dignity, strength and security!” Gotliv posted. “It’s time to kiss doomsday. Shooting powerful missiles without limit. Not flattening a neighbourhood. Crushing and flattening Gaza. … without mercy! without mercy!”
Nikolai Sokov, senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, told Newsweek that “loose talk” regarding nuclear weapons has become more common in recent years, especially given the conflict in Ukraine and now Israel.
Part of it is understandable, he said, due to serious security crises, a lack of knowledge about nuclear weapons, visible political positions, and more people generally pondering the use of such weapons and the effect on a global scale.
“For Israel, such loose talk is perhaps even more damaging because the country does not even admit it has nuclear weapons, so an indirect confirmation is not good for its image,” Sokov said.
The report continued, “Sokov added that Gotliv’s calls for escalatory measures is nearsighted for two reasons: one, any potential targets are in the immediate vicinity, hence damage to Israel would be considerable; and two, the military utility of nuclear weapons is often grossly overestimated, especially by those who have limited or no knowledge of nuclear weapons.”
“There are, effectively, no targets for nuclear weapons in this war/conflict,” he said.