Two thousand years before the concept of a Palestinian nation was ever conceived, the indigenous people of the land where the conflict rages today between Israel and the Arabs were the Jews. They had been in this place for centuries but when Jerusalem fell to the invading Romans in 70 C.E. Masada became the only point of Jewish resistance. Two years later, the Roman governor Flavius Silva marched against Masada and prepared for a long siege. Thousands of his troops established eight camps at the base of the Masada rock and surrounded it with a high wall, leaving no escape for rebels. After a long siege, the Romans stormed the fortress only to find that the Jewish rebels had committed mass suicide rather than succumb to Roman slavery two millennia ago.
A miniature of the Masada site was unveiled recently at Cockington Green in Canberra and, although the story of Masada is one that is close to the heart of Jewish dispossession and suffering, the Palestine Lobby attempted to use the occasion for their own propaganda purposes Palestinians prickle at mini Masada.
About a dozen police were present yesterday as Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem presented the $38,000 miniature Masada in real life a formidable site towering over the Dead Sea from which Jewish rebels committed mass suicide rather than succumb to Roman slavery two millennia ago.
For the Jewish people, the end of the siege of Masada marked the start of 2000 years of exile in which the Jewish community scattered to the four corners of the earth.
Anticipated protests over the Israeli embassy-funded contribution did not transpire yesterday but Cockington Green has come under fire from Palestinian groups who say the model is inappropriate.
This was another massive own goal for the Palestine lobby which makes a name for itself with its negative posturing without at any time doing anything for the Palestinian people and for the quest for peace in that region. Visitors to Cockington Green readily understood the message of Masada and that it symbolises a connection to the land with the Jewish people and this became clearer when the Palestinian objections were made clear in the Canberra Times.
Mr Rotem said Masada represented the continuity of the Jewish people.
"In the history of any nation, there are days and there are events which forever mark a crossroads in time between that which happened before and that which came after," he said.