When Masada was excavated in the 1960s, Israel was a very new country (less than 20 years old), full of immigrants from many different backgrounds, and was struggling to find an identity beyond being the homeland for the Jews after the horrors of the Holocaust.
One of the reasons that Prof. Yigael Yadin went to dig at this forgotten site was to create a social link with the ancient Jewish state that was destroyed by the Romans, and to encourage modern Israelis to see themselves as the heirs of these forebears. Masada, with its story of 960 brave Jewish defenders committing suicide rather than becoming prisoners of the Romans, was the perfect place to foster this spirit, and during and after the excavation the cry went up - Masada Will Not Fall Again!
In this podcast, biblical archaeologist Dr Garth Gilmour joins us to analyze Masada's crucial role in the nation-building process of modern Israel and how it remains a useful and clarifying way to discuss how Israel reached its current political impasse.
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