Barak wrote: “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.”
Israel’s nuclear arsenal is an open secret, but Israeli officials and their US counterparts do not acknowledge its existence. Because Israel does not declare its arsenal, it’s not clear how many warheads they possess. Current estimates put the arsenal somewhere between 90 and 300 warheads, but the real number could be higher.
The US and Israel have long had an understanding concerning Israel’s nukes, which were first developed in the late 1960s. Every US president since Richard Nixon agreed not to press Israel to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in exchange for Israel not declaring its stockpile.
The arrangement allows the US to keep providing aid to Israel even though doing so is technically illegal. Under an amendment to the Arms Export Control Act, the US cannot provide aid to nuclear-armed states that refuse to sign the NPT.
State Department spokesman Ned Price was recently grilled on the issue by journalist Sam Husseini. When pressed about potential violations of the Arms Control Export Act and the State Department’s refusal to acknowledge Israel’s nuclear weapons program, Price referred Husseini to the Israeli government.