The Romans are back

Don't let history repeat itself, at Masada we say 'never again.'

View from Masada 311 (photo credit: Joe Yudin)
View from Masada 311
(photo credit: Joe Yudin)
Travelers standing atop the fortress Masada in the Judean wilderness and looking a dizzying 1,000 feet down to the desert floor become instantly aware of a stunning, historical panorama. Ringing the plateau is an ancient wall, the remains of Roman siege camps, and a huge ramp built by attacking legionnaires to dislodge the last holdouts of the Jewish rebellion against the Roman Empire in A.D. 70.
For centuries the winds above the summit seemed to whisper the words never again. Sixty or 70 years ago, those words would have burned in the minds of those who surveyed the sobering scene; and the world would have echoed its near unanimous approval. Now, however, the winds have shifted. In a manner of speaking, the Romans are back.
This time they do not use catapults, stones, swords, and spears. They use rockets, explosives, and automatic weapons; and they are hostile regimes bent on finishing what their ancient compatriots started.
Consider first that Egypt is in the hands of terrorists tethered to Hamas fanatics. At the rate things are going, feckless Western leaders are all but handing Iran the time it needs to get the bomb, with its announced first drop on Tel Aviv, Israel.
The ongoing Syrian rebellion prompted Israel to build another wall to circumvent the attacks that will come if jihadist forces there take over the government. The Middle East, in fact, looks like an Israeli fortress surrounded by the same minds that have perpetually called for liquidating the Jewish people. The difference between today and the year 70 is only a matter of altitude. At ground level, everything else looks the same.
Here’s a question that begs an answer: If the UN were to vote today on the same resolution it passed on November 29, 1947, giving the Jewish people the land for their national home, would the vote turn out the same? The answer is an emphatic no. If the vote were today, you can be sure there would be no sovereign State of Israel.
What has changed? The vast majority of self-indulgent leaders and Westerners have chosen to forget what Israel’s enemies have vowed to remember: their hatred of the Jewish people and their determination to eliminate them.
We live in an anesthetized culture bloated by propaganda and convinced that all will be well with the world if only we can achieve a communal civility. But such civility has never existed and is impossible to create for one simple reason: There is evil in the world, and evil impresarios direct destructive actions.
Fewer than 70 years ago, the world was embroiled in World War II, fighting the greatest genocidal binge the modern world has known. It was the right thing to recognize Israel’s inherent entitlement to a place among the nations. Today the propensity to do the right thing is gone.
It is an inexcusable international transgression to question the legitimacy of that recognition. Furthermore, to dignify as somehow bearing merit the refusal of the Palestinian Authority (PA) to negotiate peace in good faith should embarrass our foreign affairs “experts.” The PA’s persistent recalcitrance is an unmistakable indication of its endgame: Israel’s annihilation.
Do the words never again have any contemporary meaning? Is a nation’s survival to be decided by corrupt assemblies dominated by hostile people with their own agendas?
There is much to be said about the price paid by those who have done the right thing rather than bend to opinion polls or opt for the comfort of being in the popular loop. Those who paid that price are people whose determination has stood the test of time and whose courage have passed on to us the greatest period of peace, prosperity, and personal freedom known on this planet.
The good news is that, while the siege engines and the ancient operatives are no more, Israel is alive and well. That fact will not change and is the eternal message for all pretenders with bad intentions. When they are gone and forgotten––meaningless footnotes to history––little Israel will still be standing.  It’s written in the Book, and history has consistently uttered a confirming amen.