Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.
It's the nightmare that haunts the modern Middle East --Iran succeeds in its quest for nuclear weapons and goes to war with Israel, causing massive human casualties and destruction on a demonic scale that in turn could trigger a worldwide economic collapse.
Now, researchers at Washington's Center for Strategic & International Studies have tried to assess the extent to which civilian targets will be damaged in any Iran-Israel nuclear exchange.
The initial fireball accompanying a 100-kiloton nuclear bomb exploding in the heart of Tel Aviv will instantly kill 8,966 people and injure 3,243 more, say Anthony Cordesman and Abdullah Toukan.
But within three weeks, that death toll will soar to nearly 800,000 as a plume of radiation spreads across the country.
Given its tiny size and 7.2 million population, a single nuclear blast could devastate Israel.
It could "wipe Israel off the map in a matter of seconds," Michael Oren, Israel's ambassador to the United States, said recently. The Iranians could "accomplish in a matter of seconds what they denied Hitler did, and kill six million Jews, literally."
"Any missile with a nuclear warhead landing in Tel Aviv, Israel, will affect the West Bank, causing a large number of fatalities and injuries to the Palestinian inhabitants, pollute and contaminate the agricultural land and resources that lie in the Jordan Valley and, over the longer term, fallout radiation would reach the outskirts of Amman, Jordan, which is some 108 kilometres from Tel Aviv," the study warns.
Retaliatory Israeli nuclear strikes, with higher-yield bombs and accurate rocket delivery systems, would be far more destructive.
A single 500-kiloton Israeli nuclear bomb dropped on Tehran would instantly kill 56,771 people and the death toll would soar to 1.47 million, with 5.1 million injured, within a week.
A full-fledged Israeli nuclear response, using some, but not all, of its 200 nuclear weapons, would target most major Iranian cities and major military bases. It would kill 16 million to 28 million people within three weeks.
Metropolitan Tehran, with a population of 15 million, is "a topographic basin with mountain reflector -- nearly an ideal nuclear killing ground," the study said.