According to the ancient Jewish historian Josephus, Jewish rebels, besieged by Roman legionaries on the hilltop fortress of Masada in the year 73 CE, decided to commit suicide rather than surrender. Scholars still debate the accuracy of this account, while the Zionist movement decades ago embraced it as an example of Jewish heroism. But, notes Shlomo Brody, the Talmud makes no mention of the fall of Masada, and the rabbinic view of such acts of martyrdom is hardly straightforward:
Were the Defenders of Masada Justified in Killing Themselves?
Egypt Still Hasn’t Escaped Nasser’s Toxic Legacy
To mark the 50th anniversary of the death of the Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, Daniel Pipes reflects on his reign: