When Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed in March 2008 to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, that the protection of Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s raison d’état (“Die[se] historische Verantwortung Deutschlands ist Teil der Staatsräson meines Landes. Das heißt, die Sicherheit Israels ist für mich als deutsche Bundeskanzlerin niemals verhandelbar”) it wasn’t very clear how far she actually wanted to go when mentioning Iran, again, and its claimed nuclear weapons program as imminent threat for Israel. The context was the Shoah and Germany’s historic shame. Another knee-jerk genuflection, inevitable for any honorable German visiting Germany’s eternal victims. (It is interesting to learn that her controversial remark of Israel’s right to exist being Germany’s reason of state cannot be found on her personal webpage).
When recently visiting Israel, new Federal President Joachim Gauck was somewhat more precise when cautioning Israel against war with Iran.
Well, when in May 2012 Germany sold several Dolphin-class submarines to Israel, it was already speculated that they can and would in fact carry nukes. Der Spiegel has it today that Israel in fact deploys nuclear weapons on these submarines. Former State Secretary Lothar Rühl and former chief of the planning staff Hans Rühle, have told the magazine that “they had always assumed that Israel would deploy nuclear weapons on the submarines. Rühl had even discussed the issue with the military in Tel Aviv.”
Israel, not a member of the Nuclear Non-proliferation treaty, does not comment officially on its nuclear weapons program. The German government has knowledge about it since 1961, though. According to Der Spiegel,
“Merkel had tied the delivery of the sixth submarine to a number of conditions, including a demand that Israel stop its expansionist settlement policy and allow the completion of a sewage treatment plant in the Gaza Strip, which is partially financed with German money. So far, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has met none of the terms.”
Last modified June 7, 2012.