Israeli PM Ehud Olmert hinted that Israel is aspiring to acquire nuclear weapons in an interview with the German N24 TV channel, lifting the veil over the ambiguity that characterizes the state's response to allegations surrounding its nuclear program. Israel has consistently insisted it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East.
"Iran, openly, explicitly and publicly threatens to wipe Israel off the map. Can you say that this is the same level, when they are aspiring to have nuclear weapons, as America, France, Israel, Russia?"
Incoming Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told a Senate committee last week that Israel has nuclear weapons. When asked about the bomb, Olmert cut the interviewer off, saying, "I'm certain you can go to the Secretary of Defense of America and talk to him about that."
This past weekend, former Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Daniel Ayalon criticized as "lamentable" the public disclosure by Gates that Israel is a nuclear power. "These are lamentable words. Perhaps his tongue is forked, but maybe not. In any case Israel must demand explanations," Ayalon told Israel's TV 10. "It is not up to Washington to end the policy of ambiguity."