The weapon, later identified as a 10 mega-ton former Soviet warhead, detonated just as the new Knesset began proceedings. In a flash, Israel’s administrative capital, political leadership and just under three quarters of a million Israelis died, along with hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank.
The news was greeted in different ways. In the US, the president was rushed to the emergency national airborne command post, whilst the vice president and others were sent to the alternate national command centre in Mount Weather. US forces were ordered to def con 2.
In Cairo, Damascus, Tehran and Riyadh, spontaneous crowds gathered in grotesque displays of euphoria.
The president immediately made contact with Israel’s UN ambassador, who informed him of the secret protocol that made him acting head of state in the event of such an event. The president despatched marines to ensure the ambassador was moved to a secure location.
In Washington, New York and Boston a mixture of angry crowds calling for retaliation and families fleeing the cities caused major disruption and the deployment of the national guard.
The National Security Adviser reminded the president of the existence of Operation David, an Israeli submarine armed with four medium range nuclear warheads for just such an occasion. The submarine was believed to be stationed in the Indian Ocean.
Across Europe, riot police fought running battles to defend Jewish schools and synagogues from baying mobs of extremist Muslims. In France, the president went on television announcing that he was deploying the army and had authorised the use of live ammunition to defend Jewish property. Every European country with the exception of Hungary offered immediate refuge to Israeli citizens. NATO headquarters was tasked with coordinating the naval and air evacuation of Israelis from their shattered country.
The president of Iran was the first major leader to address the attack, condemning it wholeheartedly as an affront to Islam and denouncing those who did it as devils. He offered any support Iran could give.
The presidents of Egypt and Syria were not long in repeating his remarks. The King of Saudi Arabia offered financial assistance.
The acting Israeli president was now in constant contact with the US president. The situation on the ground in Israel was horrific, with the national power grid collapsed and radiation poisoning beginning to be felt. The first Spanish, Greek, Turkish and Italian ships were arriving off the coast, but many survivors were refusing to leave.
The US president pleaded with his Israeli counterpart to remain calm until the situation could be determined. The Israeli president coldly told him that as soon as what was left of Israel’s military intelligence confirmed who had carried out this attack, Israel would respond.
The NSA shared a bigger concern with the president. That it didn’t matter who carried out the attack. The Israeli response would be one of vengence, targeting Damascus, Riyadh, Tehran and Cairo. “You know what the four individual missiles are called, Mr president? Auschwitz, Dachau, Belsen and Birkenau. And I’m not sure we’d be any different if Washington had been destroyed.” The president agreed.
Across the world, chaos reigned. Stock markets collapsed save for oil prices which soared at the thought of a nuclear attack on Saudi Arabia. In Europe over 200 mostly Muslim protesters were shot dead in France, Belgium and Britain in open battles to protect Jewish districts. The chant “Finish the job!” reverberated outside community centres and schools where Jewish families huddled in terror from mobs kept back by police and soldiers. In Germany thousands of civilians wearing stars of David joined with German paratroopers to protect Jewish shops and homes.
The National Security Advisor informed the president that the US Navy had detected the location of the David submarine, and that it was about three hours from its optimum firing location to hit its targets. She also pointed out that the US Air Force could sink it if required.
This remark caused a major row in the conference room of the plane, but NSA was firm. Much and all as she could sympathise with the Israeli desire to strike back, further nuclear attacks were not in the US national interest, especially against Saudi Arabia given its oil production. She also pointed out that the Russians had said that they will not tolerate a nuclear weapon exploding in Iran as the fallout would effect them.
In the US, the situation was complicated by the fact that America was a mere four weeks away from electing a new president. The GOP and Democratic nominees were pretty much falling over each other calling for the president to respond with massive force, with the GOP nominee clearly deciding that Iran was responsible according “to sources within Langley”, which came as news to the CIA director. On Fox News one presenter became hysterical and started screaming for every Muslim to be killed before her more calm blonde colleague slapped her across the face live on air.
Across the country, mosques were attacked by armed mobs, who were surprised to find that the right to bear arms applied to Muslims too, and gun battles took place before national guardsmen disarmed both groups. Huge support for a massive retaliation and the internment of Muslims was gathering pace both online and in demonstrations. In Alabama a large crowd burned down a Chinese restaurant and a factory that manufactured muslin.
Congress met in emergency session, passing a motion demanding that the president retaliate immediately, and threatening impeachment if he refused.
The evacuation of Israel was now fully under way as US Navy ships arrived, and a string of hundreds of both military and civilian ships ferried refugees to huge camps in Italy, Spain and southern France. The US began Operation Friendship, a massive airlift to then carry refugees onwards to the US. US, British, French and German troops deployed in Israel to maintain order and assist in the evacuation almost immediately got into gun battles with Hamas and ISIS fighters eager to “get a Jew”. The remnants of the IDF, even in their badly damaged state, were more than a match for the terrorists, humiliatingly pushing them back.
The US president had just finished a very tense and bad tempered video conference with the speaker of the house and the senate majority leader where both informed him that if he did not commit within the next 12 hours to war with Iran, articles of impeachment would be considered. The NSA looked gaunt, and informed the president that a former Israeli general had contacted him directly to tell him that there was an aspect of Operation David that had been kept hidden. That there was a fifth missile, codenamed Masada. Where is it targeted at, the president had enquired. The answer chilled him.
The president immediately assembled the national security council, who were briefed on the Masada situation. The option was clear: the David had to be destroyed.
Two members of the NSC resigned on the spot, calling it a betrayal of the United States’ closest ally. But the rest of the NSC were firm.
As the air force began to make preparations to carry out the attack, the president was contacted by the GOP leadership, and both the Democratic and Republican nominees. They had all been briefed about the David, and all agreed that to destroy it was an act of treachery.
The argument continued for nearly an hour, with the president adamant. The Republican nominee then announced that he would call a press conference revealing the issue and calling for the president’s immediate impeachment. The majority leader called on the vice president to summon the cabinet remotely and remove the president on grounds of incapacity, but the VP refused, supporting the president.
The president warned that they had all been briefed under national security restrictions, and that revealing the existence of the David would be an act of treason, and he was ordering their secret service bodyguards to sequester them until the operation was complete. “When you sit in this seat, Mr Speaker, you can use nuclear weapons to start a Holy War with a billion Muslims. But I’m not.”
The speaker promised that the president would be impeached later that day.
Following the video conference, the CIA director revealed that they now believed that the nuclear warhead had been bought by ISIS from a rogue Russian general and secretly shipped to Tel Aviv. He also revealed the strong likelihood that the whole operation had been funded by a Saudi prince.
Fifteen minutes later, under presidential order, a stealth bomber dropped a nuclear depth charge onto a precise location on the northern Indian Ocean, destroying the David.
The president then went on television to the American people, explaining his actions. He informed the people of the world that the United States would invade Northern Iraq and remain until ISIS was destroyed. Secondly, he demanded that the House of Saud surrender the named prince to the FBI to assist in their investigations, and that if they did not comply the United States would be at war with Saudi Arabia. He then issued an executive order calling on the Congress to designate a part of the American continent as a homeland for the Jewish people in perpetuity, and would ask the leadership of Congress to bring forward legislation on such a proposal. Finally, he announced that that he would resign office later that day. He would face any charges brought against him and would not accept any pardon from his successor.
On Fox News, a number of mid-western governors expressed enthusiastic support for a Jewish homeland being created in some one else’s state.