In momentary slip, Netanyahu breaks Israel’s nuclear ambiguity
Hailing gas pipeline deal, PM trips up in calling Jewish state a ‘nuclear power,’ but quickly clarifies
5 January 2020
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday called Israel a “nuclear power” before correcting himself mid-word to say “energy power.”
The premier’s comment came during the weekly cabinet meeting as he briefed ministers about the deal signed Thursday between Israel, Greece and Cyprus on Thursday for a huge pipeline project to ship gas from the eastern Mediterranean to Europe.
“We are transforming Israel into a nuclear power… energy power,” Netanyahu said.
Israel has never acknowledged possessing nuclear weapons, instead maintaining a policy of “strategic ambiguity.”
Foreign reports have put the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal in the dozens to hundreds of weapons.
Under the gas deal inked last week, the 2,000-kilometer (1,200-mile) EastMed pipeline will be able to carry between nine and 12 billion cubic meters of gas a year from offshore reserves held by Israel and Cyprus to Greece, and then on to Italy and other southeastern European countries.