Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has suspended a far-right cabinet minister from participating in government meetings. This is after the minister suggested that dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza was “one way” to deal with the crisis.
Heritage minister Amichay Eliyahu was asked early Sunday on Radio Kol Berama, a religious radio station, if a nuclear weapon should be used in Gaza, to which Eliyahu answered, “this is one way.”
He later said he did not mean his answer to be taken literally.
“Minister (Amichay) Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality,” Netanyahu wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “Israel and the IDF are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents. We will continue to do so until our victory.”
The Prime Minister’s office later told CNN Netanyahu had suspended Eliyahu from taking part in government meetings until further notice.
Eliyahu later on defended his remarks. He wrote on social media: “It is clear to all sensible people that the statement about the atom [nuclear bomb] is metaphorical.”
He did however suggest mounting “a strong and disproportionate response to terrorism.”
Eliyahu is part of the far-right Otzma Yehudit party, led by Israel’s minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir. Neither he nor Ben Gvir is a member of the war cabinet.
Israel has never officially admitted that it possesses nuclear weapons.