US slams ‘hateful rhetoric’ from Israeli minister who said nuking Gaza was ‘an option’

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US bureau chief

Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu attends a ceremony at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on June 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu attends a ceremony at the Knesset, in Jerusalem, on June 19, 2023. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The United States condemns Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu’s “wholly unacceptable” suggestion yesterday that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza is among Israel’s options in the war against Hamas.

“We continue to believe that it is important for all sides of this conflict to refrain from hateful rhetoric that is going to further incite tensions,” US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel says in a briefing, when asked about Eliyahu’s comments.

Patel notes that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other cabinet members repudiated the far-right minister’s remarks.

Netanyahu’s office announced that he had suspended Eliyahu from attending cabinet meetings — although the minister took part in a telephone cabinet vote hours later.

The premier reportedly looked into firing Eliyahu, but backed down due to pushback from National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who heads Eliyahu’s Otzma Yehudit party.

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