Worst-kept secret? In tweet, ex-PM Barak seems to confirm Israel has nuclear weapons

Says Western officials fear judicial overhaul will turn country into ‘messianic dictatorship that possesses nuclear weapons,’ thirsting for confrontation with Islam at Temple Mount

Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, November 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Former prime minister Ehud Barak speaks at a conference in Tel Aviv, November 5, 2022. (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

Former prime minister Ehud Barak appeared to confirm on Twitter Tuesday that Israel has nuclear weapons — something Israeli officials have heavily implied but avoid publicly confirming as a matter of policy.

“In conversations between Israelis and Western diplomatic officials, there are deep concerns raised of the possibility that if the coup in Israel succeeds, a messianic dictatorship — that possesses nuclear weapons and fanatically wishes for a confrontation with Islam centered on the Temple Mount — will be established in the heart of the Middle East,” tweeted Barak in his latest criticism of the government’s judicial overhaul effort.

One of National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s aides tweeted last week that the overhaul “will eventually lead to a freedom-protecting and God-fearing DAVIDIC MONARCHY [akin to the] UAE,”

The Dimona nuclear research facility, officially called the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center, is said to be the home of Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

Foreign estimates have claimed that Israel maintains a nuclear weapons cache ranging from dozens to hundreds of warheads. But Israel has never formally acknowledged possessing a nuclear arsenal, instead maintaining a policy of “nuclear ambiguity.”

Barak has long been one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s vocal critics, since before he served as Netanyahu’s defense minister from 2009 to 2013.

View of the nuclear reactor in Dimona, southern Israel, in 2016. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Since the government’s unveiling of its plan to radically curb the High Court of Justice’s power three months ago, Barak has become a leading voice in the protests against the plan.

He has warned that Israel risks devolving into a dictatorship, adding that people are duty-bound to refuse orders by “an illegitimate regime.”

In February, Barak likened President Isaac Herzog’s proposal to the government for compromise on the judicial plan to former British premier Neville Chamberlain’s appeasement efforts vis-à-vis Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, in a post to social media he later deleted.

He accused the Netanyahu government of pursuing a “coup d’état” and said the overhaul plan was an “attack on the Declaration of Independence” and did not serve the interests of the public or the country.

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