"A terrorist is like a fly that wants to destroy a china shop. Small, low, fly is unable to move not even a cup. So she found an elephant, enters his ear and buzzes until mad with fear and anger, it sacked the shop. Thus, for example, the Al-Qaeda fly led the American elephant to destroy the china shop of the Middle East.
Why are they so sensitive to terrorist provocations? Because the legitimacy of the modern state is based on its promise to keep the public sphere free of political violence. A regime can withstand terrible catastrophes, and even ignore them, provided its legitimacy is not based on preventing them.
Today, a government may turn a blind eye to high levels of domestic and sexual violence, because they do not undermine its legitimacy. Rapists and abusive husbands are not perceived as an existential threat to the state, because, historically, the state did not build itself on the promise to eliminate sexual violence. In contrast, the much rarer cases of terrorism are viewed as a deadly threat, because over the last few centuries modern western states have gradually built their legitimacy on the explicit promise to maintain zero political violence within their borders."
Read the whole article from Yuval Noah Harari in French, or in English