An Israeli minister was suspended from government meetings “until further notice” on Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said, after suggesting in an interview dropping a nuclear bomb on Gaza.
Heritage Minister Amichay Eliyahu, an ultranationalist politician part of Netnayahu’s ruling coalition, told Israel’s Kol Barama radio he was not entirely satisfied with the scale of Israel’s retaliation in the Palestinian territory after Hamas fighters carried out a deadly attack on October 7 inside southern Israel.
The attacks killed 1,400 people, mostly civilians, Israeli officials say.
Israel’s military campaign in Gaza since October 7 has killed 9,488 people, most of them women and children, the Hamas-run health ministry says.
When the interviewer asked whether the Israeli minister advocated dropping “some kind of atomic bomb” on the Gaza Strip “to kill everyone”, Eliyahu replied: “That’s one option”.
Benjamin Netanyahu’s office quickly responded to the minister’s remarks, issuing a statement in which it described them as “disconnected from reality,” adding that Israel was trying to spare “non-combatants” in Gaza.
Following the outcry over his remarks, Eliyahu later said in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that his statement about the atomic bomb was “metaphorical”.
Israel has never admitted to having a nuclear bomb.