Did ex-Israel PM Barak slip up on Israel's 'nuclear arsenal'?

Did ex-Israel PM Barak slip up on Israel's 'nuclear arsenal'?
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a diplomatic blunder on Tuesday when he appeared to imply in a tweet that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.
2 min read
05 April, 2023
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (centre) in 2019 [Photo by Amir Levy/Getty]

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak made a diplomatic slip-up on Tuesday after he appeared to imply in a tweet that Israel possesses nuclear weapons.

While criticising the current Benjamin Netanyahu-led government and its judicial overhaul, Barak tweeted in Hebrew on Tuesday: "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 (Al-Aqsa mosque complex) — will be established in the heart of the Middle East. In their eyes - it's really scary. Not going to happen."

Barak deleted the tweet after critics of Israel pointed to it as confirmation of Tel Aviv's nuclear arsenal.

Israel has adhered to a policy of ambiguity when it comes to its nuclear sector, though several countries around the world have long suspected that it possesses nuclear weapons.

His tweet followed a concerning message from Yishai Fleisher - a lawmaker from the extremist National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir's party - who tweeted earlier this month that the judicial overhaul would pave the way for a "freedom-protecting and God-fearing DAVIDIC MONARCHY" akin to the UAE. 

Ehud Barak served as prime minister of Israel from 1999 to 2001 and was investigated on several occasions on accusations of illegal campaign financing, bribery. and money laundering.

He is a frequent critic of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and has accused him of pursuing a "coup d’etat" despite serving as Netanyahu’s defence minister from 2009 to 2013. 

Barak has been a leading voice in the protests that have engulfed Israel in opposition to a now-suspended judicial overhaul that would give the government more power over the country's courts.