In 2016, I made my first appearance on The Watchman show, with Erick Stakelbeck. My “baptism of fire” was presenting one of the most challenging sites in Israel – Masada. Some 2,000 years ago, King Herod transformed this barren rock plateau, above the Dead Sea, into a magnificent desert fortress. The remains of his palatial complex are very impressive, but the more famous chapter of Masada takes place about 70 years after Herod’s death. During the ill-fated “Big Jewish rebellion,” Jews fled from other parts of Judea to this site. However, the 10th Roman legion was sent to conquer the site. They formed a circumvallation wall, 8 camps and built a ramp against its western side. When the Jews lost all hope, they favored death to Roman slavery and committed suicide.
Masada Rediscovered and Iconized
The site was be barely settled later on, and in the middle ages, even its location was forgotten. Masada was rediscovered in the 19th century, and during the early years of the Zionist movement it became a symbol of the Jewish uncompromising fight for freedom and independence. To this day, Jewish youth groups climb to the day to the site and shout the famous line “Masada will never fall again.” Combined with its wealth of finds, fantastic desert views, and its symbol in modern Israeli history, Masada is a MUST for every visitor.
Masada is one of the most popular tour destinations in Israel. It is nearly a 2 hours drive from Jerusalem, and requires a strenuous hike to its top… or using a cable car. It takes at least 2 hours to appreciate its highlights. It is also recommended to visit its specially designed local museum.