An Israeli lawmaker is calling for her nation’s military to use nuclear warfare in response to attacks by Hamas.
Revital “Tally” Gotliv, an Israeli lawyer and member of the Knesset for the Likud, published multiple posts advocating for a forceful retaliation following a surprise attack on Gaza on Saturday at the hands of the militant Palestinian group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States.
More than 1,600 combined Israelis and Palestinians have reportedly been killed since Hamas launched attacks, according to the Associated Press, and hundreds of others have been injured. Hamas has reportedly taken an unknown number of hostages as the conflict has escalated.
“Jericho Missile! Jericho Missile! Strategic alert. before considering the introduction of forces. Doomsday weapon! This is my opinion. May God preserve all our strength,” Gotliv wrote on X, formerly Twitter, on Monday, according to a translation.
Another post says: “I urge you to do everything and use Doomsday weapons fearlessly against our enemies,” adding that Israel “must use everything in its arsenal.”
On Tuesday, she continued with her calls of urgency.
“Only an explosion that shakes the Middle East will restore this country’s dignity, strength and security!” Gotliv posted. “It’s time to kiss doomsday. Shooting powerful missiles without limit. Not flattening a neighbourhood. Crushing and flattening Gaza. … without mercy! without mercy!” She also stressed a swift response from her own government in response to Hamas “laughing” at the country.
Nikolai Sokov, senior fellow at the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, told Newsweek via email that “loose talk” regarding nuclear weapons has become prevalent and more commonplace in recent years due to the war in Ukraine and now the escalation in Gaza.
Part of it is understandable, he said, due to serious security crises, a lack of knowledge about nuclear weapons, visible political positions, and more people generally pondering the use of such weapons and the effect on a global scale.
“For Israel, such loose talk is perhaps even more damaging because the country does not even admit it has nuclear weapons, so an indirect confirmation is not good for its image,” Sokov said.
Sokov added that Gotliv’s calls for escalatory measures is nearsighted for two reasons: one, any potential targets are in the immediate vicinity, hence damage to Israel would be considerable; and two, the military utility of nuclear weapons is often grossly overestimated, especially by those who have limited or no knowledge of nuclear weapons.
“There are, effectively, no targets for nuclear weapons in this war/conflict,” he said.
Gotliv has been a vocal critic of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who along with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant previously issued a statement in defense of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials and the security establishment.
In September, she accused the IDF and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) of working for Palestinian “terrorists and security prisoners,” according to The Jerusalem Post. After being condemned by the Israeli government for “infuriating” rhetoric, she doubled down and justified attacks by lawmakers on domestic military personnel.
Netanyahu has waged war against Hamas and promised to reduce terrorists to rubble that they will remember “for decades to come.” However, he has faced renewed criticism for alleged security and intelligence failures that preceded the deadliest attack on Israeli soil in more than five decades.
One day after criticizing Netanyahu, the left-leaning newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday ran an op-ed with the headline “Netanyahu: Resign Now!” It said he is responsible for “the worst failure in the country’s history.”