NEW YORK (JTA) — The president of the World Jewish Congress, Ronald Lauder, urged Israel to expand its fleet of submarines in response to the Iranian threat.
Writing in the New York Post, Lauder warned that Iran could destroy Israeli military bases and airfields in a surprise attack using conventionally armed missiles. He said that additional Israeli submarines could serve as a deterrent.
He also suggested that Israeli submarines could help deter a nuclear strike.
“Expanding Israel’s submarine fleet with a potent reach and powerful warheads would send a clear and unmistakable message to radical Islamic fundamentalists that Israel has the means to confront with massive deadly force a first strike nuclear attack in the Middle East,” Lauder wrote in the Op-Ed, which was first published on the newspaper’s website Wednesday night.
Lauder wrote that defense analysts believe that Israeli submarines are able to fire “nuclear capable Harpoon cruise missiles from within retrofitted torpedo tubes.”
Israel is believed to have nuclear weapons but maintains an official policy of nuclear ambiguity.
Lauder served as deputy assistant secretary of defense for European and NATO affairs under President Ronald Reagan.