Over the several generations that have elapsed since Britain, by virtue of its mandate to govern Palestine, altered the demography of that region to a destabilising extent, historians, politicians and commentators have employed the term “Arab-Israeli conflict” as shorthand to refer to the world’s most intractable confrontation. That description, however, is now completely inaccurate and has been since 1980.

The new and sinister reality of the past 40 years has been that the country which has intervened most aggressively against Israel, unlike the Jewish state’s immediate neighbours, is not an Arab nation, having an entirely different ethnicity and culture from the Middle Eastern states who constitute Israel’s natural opponents. Iran has become the godfather, paymaster and religious instigator of the forces hostile to Israel; yet, in cultural and geographical terms, it has no natural locus in the Arab-Israeli conflict, into which Iran’s intrusion has made that term inappropriate.