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What Episode in Jewish History Is Depicted in This Scenario?

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    Jews”The enemy trapped the Jews in the city by building a wall around it. Foodstuffscould not be brought in: starvation and crowded conditions gave rise to disease,and epidemics spread among the populace. But surprisingly the Jews held on.

    Then the enemy massed troops outside the wall and brought out the latest inweaponry. They attacked, using fire to spread destruction. The Jews repelled theenemy a number of times. So savage was the resistance that the campaign todestroy the Jewish population took much longer and cost more troops thananticipated. Street by street the fighting raged with hand-to-hand combatbetween the heavily armed troops and the haggard defenders. Some Jews tried toescape through the sewers, but they were flushed out by fire. At the end theJews had taken a heavy toll on their enemy but the city lay in smoking ruins.

    The remaining Jewish survivors were rounded up to be used as slave laborers orto be killed.

    What episode in Jewish history is depicted in this scenario? Most people wouldsay this was the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against the Nazis in 1943. But in factit was the Roman destruction of Jerusalem and the Second Temple in the year 70The destruction of the Second temple and the attack on the Warsaw Ghetto,although separated by nearly two thousand years have and eerie sameness. TheGermans sealed off the Warsaw’s Jewish population with and eight-foot brickconcrete wall. The Romans built a high earthen barricade around Jerusalem tomake certain the Jews could not escape. Germans shot, on the spot Jewsdiscovered outside the Warsaw Ghetto. The Romans crucified the Jews they found,placing crosses atop the hill to terrorize those watching from inside the city:as many as 500 were crucified in 1 day. The Germans tried to starve the PolishJews into submission reducing their rations at first to 800 calories a day andlater cutting off all food to the ghetto. The Romans used the tactic of siege tobring starvation in Jerusalem. In both episodes the actual fighting was in someways similar. “Since the ghetto was impenetrable in frontal attack, GeneralStroop’s forces set fire to the buildings with incendiary bombs and flamethrowers” Titus’s Roman legions used flaming torches of wood to set fire to theTemple and other buildings in the final battle. “Through the roar of the flamesas they the Romans swept relentlessly on could be heard the groans of thefalling the entire city seemed to be on fire.

    The Nazis not only killed but plundered Jews if their possessions; the Romans”were so avaricious that they pushed on climbing over the piles or corpses formany valuables were found in the passages and all scruples were silenced by theprospect of gain. “The Romans took so much gold from the Jews that it’s pricefell by half in Syria.

    The Nazis used Jews for slave labor the Romans sent thousands of Jewish captivesto work on projects on Egypt. The Nazis made grisly sport with their victims andconducted fiendish medical experiments before killing the Jews. Titus hadthousands of Jewish captives killed in gladiatorial contests and staged fightsbetween them and wild beasts to celebrate his victory and, on one occasion thisbrother’s birthday and Vespasian the Roman Emperor had non swimmers shackledwith their hands and feet behind them and thrown into the deepest parts of theDead Sea to test the theory that no one could sink in the heavily salted water.

    There was one difference between the two events. Three years after destroyingJerusalem, the Romans put down the final Jewish revolt of the war by capturingMassada. Three years after the Holocaust ended the State of Israel was reborn.

    The destruction of the Second Temple serves with the Holocaust as a frame theJewish experience in the world. For instance just as no other people in themodern era has suffered a devastation comparable to that of the Jews during theHolocaust the attack on Jerusalem was unparalleled in the ancient world. “Nodestruction ever wrought by G-D or man approached the wholesale carnage of thiswar” said Josephus.

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