Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Monday signaled that Israel has no plans to change its policy around its undeclared nuclear arsenal while a conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was taking place in New York.
Speaking at the Israel Atomic Energy Commission in Tel Aviv, Lapid made a veiled reference to Israel’s secret nuclear weapons program. He spoke of Israel’s “defensive capabilities and offensive capabilities, and what the foreign media tends to call ‘other capabilities.'”
“These other capabilities keep us alive and will keep us alive as long as we and our children are here,” Lapid said.
Israel refuses to sign the NPT because of its undeclared arsenal, which is estimated to be somewhere between 90 and 300 warheads. Over in New York, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US was committed to non-proliferation even though Washington doesn’t pressure Israel to sign the NPT.
Going back to the Nixon Administration, every US president has agreed not to pressure Israel to sign the NPT. In exchange, Israel agrees not to declare its nuclear arsenal and operates the program covertly. President Biden and former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett renewed the decades-old understanding last September.