Masada made the news recently—but not for the usual reasons. The extraordinary archaeological site and iconic symbol of Jewish freedom has most recently received publicity because U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to land his helicopter on top of it, but was denied permission to do so. West of the Dead Sea, Masada is a flat-topped mountain in the Judean Desert. Trump had been hoping to visit and make a speech at the UNESCO World Heritage site during his recent trip to Israel. Upon learning that he could not land his helicopter on Masada’s summit, he chose to forgo the excursion entirely, which is unfortunate because Masada is well worth the visit.
King Herod the Great built a lavish palace on Masada’s summit in the first century B.C.E.