There are many tourist spots in the Land of Israel that are simply mind-blowing. This video features some of the old and new. One of the most amazing sites visited by millions each year is Masada. Masada is not just beautiful, it is one of the most incredible stories of Jewish history. From Roman armies to Jewish defense, Masada forever changed Jewish history.
Masada – the fortress
King Herod built many palaces thousands of years ago. One of those was in the Judean desert, called Masada. Around 35 BCE, King Herod fortified a palace there. After the Romans destroyed the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE, some Jews fled to the desert. More than 900 Jews took shelter in Masada. As King Herod already built the fortress, basic infrastructure was in place. In fact, Jews had large storehouses with food. They had the ability to survive for a long time.
Romans chase the Jews
Meanwhile, the Roman governor took 15,000 prisoners of war to surround Masada. The Romans built a wall around it. Then, they moved tons of dirt and rocks. They actually built an enormous ramp to the top of the mountain. Then, the Romans built a large battering ram. They pushed it up the ramp and breached the Masada fortress.
The Jews inside Masada knew they had lots of food. But when they saw the Romans approaching, they knew that the Romans would force them into harsh slavery. The women would be raped. They would be forced to give up their religion. And so, the Jews on Masada decided on a different fate. They committed mass suicide.
Two women and five children hid in a cistern. Thus, they survived the mass suicide. They explained that Elazar Ben Yair was the Jewish leader then. They also heard his final speech, and repeated a part of it. Eleazar said: “Since we long ago resolved never to be servants to the Romans, nor to any other than to God Himself, Who alone is the true and just Lord of mankind, the time is now come that obliges us to make that resolution true in practice … We were the very first that revolted, and we are the last to fight against them; and I cannot but esteem it as a favor that God has granted us, that it is still in our power to die bravely, and in a state of freedom”.