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Former President Carter: Israel has 300 nuclear bombs

Foreign sources debate from time to time the size of Israel’s nuclear arsenal, which is estimated at anywhere between 100 and 400 warheads (*). In a recent interview with Time, ex-president Jimmy Carter – who has read a few intelligence reports over the course his life – said that Israel has around 300 nukes.

Asked by the magazine “What do you think it means that Iran seems to have its first nuclear fuel rod?” Carter answers:

Well, of course, the religious leaders of Iran have sworn on their word of honor that they’re not going to manufacture nuclear weapons. If they are lying, then I don’t see that as a major catastrophe because they’ll only have one or two military weapons. Israel probably has 300 or so.

(*) This information is based on Avner Cohen’s summary of several analyses regarding the size of the Israeli arsenal in The Worst-Kept Secret: Israel’s Bargain with the Bomb, Columbia 2010, page xxvii. According to foreign sources, Israel also has sea-based second strike capabilities (ibid).

Read Also:
Should Israel go public about its nuclear capacities?


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    1. ginger

      I really wonder if Israel uses tactical nukes – or the Israel Lobby has the US use them against Iran, that some day in 2016 Tel Aviv might just go poof and disappear.
      An illegal Israel attack on Iran designed to decapitate not only the Iranian civilian/strategic energy program but also their perhaps their ‘sprint to a weapon’ ability to defend themselves from nuclear weapon-possessing states is just really too much
      If Tel Aviv is taken out that’s it – no one will stay in Israel
      If the US and Israelis both think the Iranians are essentially at a 1 or 2 yr ‘sprint’ distance at this point – are they just banking that the Iranians will never retaliate?

      Reply to Comment
    2. zvi

      Israel and Iran are already fighting proxy wars on various different fronts. I do not believe that either side really wants to embark on a direct confrontation – the “cost” would be just too high, for both countries. Both sides profit (politically) from turning up the threat level. Mutually assured destruction (MAD) may actually be a prelude to a period of “detente”, and what would we do then?

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    3. The problem is (I live here) Israelis generally are not very good at impulse control. The culture is steeped in fear, anxiety, and actions that lessen these. When Israelis feel these fears, they often ACT OUT. This is precisely what Bibi and Barak have been brewing for the past 2 years. They feel inner angst, and unfortunately, they don’t have the skills to do anything (like talking with the “enemy”) except plotting violence to alleviate the angst.

      Detente worked for many years in the Cold War, but Israel will have to do a lot of growing up to be able to admit that Iran (or anyone else) is in some way its equal – which is the prerequisite for MAD.

      Of course, if Israel grew up (regarded others, non-Jews as equals), it would also help create real peace between Israel and Palestine, which would lower influence of extremists in the entire Middle East. But no one in the current Israeli government has even a glimmer of these feelings in their souls……

      Reply to Comment
    4. If anyone needs to grow up here it’s you.
      A probable degree in Sociology or
      multiculturalism is hardly adequate
      to understand the complex situation there.The old saying:” if you are quiet
      people may think you are a fool, but when you open your mouth, they know”.

      Reply to Comment