JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel is equipping submarines built in Germany with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, according to Der Spiegel magazine.
The magazine also reported Sunday that the German government has known about Israel’s nuclear weapons program for decades, despite its official denials.
Last month, Israel received its fourth Dolphin–class submarine from Germany, which is slated to become operational in 2013. Germany largely has funded Israel’s purchase of the submarines.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told the magazine that Germans should be "proud" that they have secured Israel’s existence "for many years."
Israel has neither confirmed nor denied that it has a nuclear weapons program.
The German government recently signed a contract for the delivery of an additional submarine, with one-third of the cost subsidized by Germany. The delivery has been conditioned on Israel halting West Bank settlement building and allowing the completion of a sewage treatment plant in Gaza partially financed by Germany.