| ||Between 37 and 31 BC, Masada – "fortress" in hebrew – was built during the rule of Herod the Great on the western edge of the Judaean desert. The war of the Jews, by the historian Flavius Josephus, remains the only written source on its trajic history. In 66 AD, Flavius took part in Jewish nationalist revolt against Rome. A few years later, aflter surrendering, he wrote a chronicle of the rebellion and in so doing turned Masada into a myth. Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 AD, but Masada held out for three years longer. It took 10,000 legionnaires to finally avercome the 967 Jewish Zealots besieged in the fortress; when all hope was gone, the rebels chose honor over life. The last defenders of the citadel drew lots to dertermine the unfortunate ten whose terrible duty it was to kill of their comrades before committing suicide themselves. Recently, evidence has been discovered at archaeological sites that supports this story. In this hightly symbolic place of Jewish resitance, cadets in the armed unit still take on oath in its honor: "Masada shall never fall again."
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