In early 1968, the CIA issued a report concluding that Israel had successfully started production of nuclear weapons. Though Israeli officials have never confirmed or denied the existence of the country’s nuclear weapons and have stated that Israel will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East, experts estimate that it possesses 80-90 nuclear warheads and enough fissile material for 200 total warheads. Israel's nuclear-weapons program was initiated by the founding prime minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, who stated that Israel could only survive as a newly formed, fiscally poor nation if it possessed nuclear weapons to deter militaries, such as those from then-enemies Egypt and Jordan. Nuclear Weapons Production. If Israel ever does use nuclear weapons in anger, it will rewrite the diplomatic and security architecture of the Middle East, and also the nonproliferation architecture of the world as a whole. If Israel were to absorb “only” a massive conventional attack, a nuclear retaliation could not be ruled out, especially if: (a) the state aggressor(s) were perceived to hold nuclear and/or other unconventional weapons in reserve; and/or (b) Israel’s leaders were to believe that exclusively non-nuclear retaliations could not prevent annihilation of the Jewish State. Israeli nuclear weapons. June 10, 2019, 7:51 pm.

This estimate, however, was based on an informal conversation between Carl Duckett, head of the CIA's Office of Science and Technology, and Edward Teller, father of the hydrogen bomb. Nuclear policy issues.

Since the late 1960s, every Israeli government has practiced a policy of nuclear opacity that, while acknowledging that Israel maintains the option of building nuclear weapons, leaves it factually uncertain as to whether Israel actually possesses nuclear weapons and if so at what operational status. ... None of the nine countries known or believed to possess nuclear weapons – including Israel – …