19/08/2011 18:33 BST | Updated 19/10/2011 06:12 BST

Terrorist Attacks on Israel: The Ghost at the Feast

As families throughout the Jewish world sat down for their customary Sabbath dinner on Friday night the conversation for many will have turned to the mini-terror onslaught directed against southern Israel in recent days.

The randomness of the latest killing by Palestinian militants - buses and cars selected by a murderous lottery to be sprayed with bullets and missiles fired at an entire city - whose aim is to kill any Jew/Israeli, will prompt the dinner-table Jeremiahs to pronounce that, "they all hate us."

Next he will pose the apocalyptic question: "What would happen if Israel had been defeated in 1948, or 1967 or 1973? How would millions of Jews have been treated by the victorious Arab armies and their fellow travellers? The answer, he may postulate, can be found in the bullet-splattered car that contained two Israeli couples, who woke up on their last morning on earth innocently believing they were going on holiday.

The arm-chair military strategist, meanwhile, will chew-over the state of Israel's strategic relationship with post-Mubarak Egypt before mapping out the urgent need for yet another security fence, this one stretching from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, which complete the fencing in of an entire country.

A hot-head among the diners will put down his soup spoon and splutter out some of the dark fantasies of Zionism's Dr Strangeloves and the 'Greater Israel' hard-men: "Re-invade Sinai," "turn Gaza into a parking lot," "pack them all off to Jordan," he will triumphantly declare.

Finally, the liberal and the peacenik at the table will have lost their appetites along with their voices, silenced by this outbreak of nihilistic violence (surely aimed at deflecting from Assad's blood-soaked hands and tripping up Fatah's diplomatic initiative) that will only serve to harden the will of opponents of peace and reconciliation within Israel and the Jewish Diaspora.