Happy Lag BaOmer,

1. Jewish fighting capabilities were well known in ancient times, as documented by Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen, the Chief Political/Intelligence Officer of the British Mandate in Palestine, who studied ancient Jewish wars, including the 132-135AD rebellion against the Roman Empire. In 1923, he stated (Middle East Diary 1917-1956): "When a Jewish state will be established, Britain shall benefit from air force, naval and land bases… as well as Jewish fighting capabilities… which will secure its long-term regional interests.”

2. Lag Ba'Omer is celebrated on the 33rd day following Passover (May 7, 2015), commemorating the short-lived Jewish victory over the Roman Empire, as well as the death of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai (who commanded his disciples to rejoice on his memorial days) and the end of a plague, which consumed the lives of 24,000 of Rabbi Akiva's disciples.

3. The 132-135AD Jewish revolt – led by Bar Kokhbah - against the Roman Emperor, Hadrian, is known as the Third Jewish-Roman War, which exacted a toll of 600,000 Jews killed (per capita – worse than the Holocaust!) .  It followed the 66-73AD Great Revolt, which led to the destruction of the Second Temple in 70AD and the fall of Masada in 73AD, and the 115-117AD Second Jewish-Roman War (the Kitos War), when Jewish warriors destroyed Roman garrisons in Creta et Cyrenaica Cyprus, Mesopotamia and Egypt. The Second Rebellion was crushed by General Lusius Quietus (Kitos).

4. The Bar Kokhbah revolt erupted in response to the desecration of Jerusalem by Hadrian, who was determined to annihilate Judaism and erase any connection of Jews to the Land of Israel. Therefore, he destroyed Jerusalem, expelled and enslaved most Jews, prohibited the performance of Jewish rituals, and erected a new city on the site of Jerusalem – Aelia Capitolina (the new city), top heavy with statutes of Roman paganism. Hadrian renamed Judea Syria-Palestinae, borrowing the name from the Philistines (who migrated from the Greek Aegean islands – not from Arabia…), who were the arch enemies of the ancient Jews.

5. The Bar Kokhbah revolt was crushed on the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av – the day of the destruction of the First and the Second Temples.

6.  The spiritual leader of the rebellion was Rabbi Akiva, one of the leading sages in Jewish history, who proclaimed: "Love thy friend as yourself is a sublime Torah statute.” He was one of the Ten Jewish Martyrs (sages), executed by the Romans.

7. The Bar Kokhbah rebellion was centered in Beitar, Herodion, Beth El and the Judean Desert in an area renamed by Jordan – in April 1950 – the West Bank, in order to erase the Jewish connection to Judea and Samaria.

Yoram Ettinger, Jerusalem, "Second Thought: a US-Israel initiative" 
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