The Atlantic

Why Does Trump Want to Address Israel at Masada?

The famous fortress is about pageantry, and specifically the pageantry of the underdog.
Source: Kieran Doherty / Reuters

When Donald Trump travels to Israel later this month as part of his first foreign trip, he plans to give his main speech at Masada, a hilltop fortress soaked with bloody symbolism.

It looks like a strange choice. Trump’s trip is theoretically about combatting religious extremism, but the historic event that made Masada famous—960 Jewish rebels chose to commit mass suicide there in the first century rather than die at the hands of the Roman Empire—was arguably

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Unraveling of Donald Trump
As the impeachment inquiry intensifies, some associates of the president predict that his already erratic behavior is going to get worse.
The Atlantic6 min read
Democrats Are Hypocrites for Condemning Trump Over Syria
Presidential hopefuls blasted Trump for abandoning the Kurds—but want the U.S. to pull out of Afghanistan under similar conditions.
The Atlantic8 min read
What Ballooning Carbon Emissions Will Do to Trees
Many forecasts for climate change assume that tropical forests will continue to soak up carbon dioxide as the world warms. What if they don’t?