Sadly, instead of uniting to meet the common danger, the Jews splintered into factions that continually fought each other. There were three major groups:

The Friends of Rome were led by wealthy, assimilated Sadducees who desired Roman rule, both to preserve their wealth and power and to weaken the Jewish religion and the sages who maintained it.

The Moderates comprised the majority of the people and the Torah sages. While not favorably inclined to Roman rule, they correctly realized that resisting what was then the world's sole superpower would lead to unmitigated disaster. As such, the Moderates repeatedly tried to communicate to the Romans that their quarrel was not with Roman rule but rather with the wicked procurators. However, the Moderates’ efforts were thwarted at every step by other Jewish factions.

The Zealots were made up largely of young toughs who desired an independent Jewish state at all costs, and who operated under the illusion that they could victoriously fight the mighty Roman Empire.

As the struggles continued, the Friends of Rome and the Zealots fought for control of Jerusalem. To further their cause, the Zealots took the astounding step of inviting Edomite mercenaries into Jerusalem, who then perpetrated frightful massacres upon the defenseless populace. Even after taking control of the city, the Zealots fought among themselves for sole rule of Jerusalem. Extremist Zealots, called biryonim, burned the stores of food and fuel, which had been sufficient to last 21 years of siege, meaning that the then-starving populace would have no choice other than to fight. Following such horrific events and extreme Jewish folly, leading to Jewish self-destruction in Jerusalem, the Roman general Vespasian told his troops that G‑d was a better general than he, conferring victory on the Romans without risk.

Kamtza and Bar Kamtza

The Talmud relates that this famous, tragic episode led to the destruction of Jerusalem. A wealthy Jerusalemite made a lavish feast and commanded his servant to invite his friend Kamtza. However, the servant confused Kamtza with Bar Kamtza, who was the host's bitter enemy. Upon noticing Bar Kamtza at the party, the enraged host publicly ordered him to leave. Mortified, Bar Kamtza offered to defray the cost of the entire banquet, but the host refused and personally ejected Bar Kamtza.

Furious that the rabbis attending the meal did not protest his treatment, Bar Kamtza told the Romans that the Jews were rebelling against their rule. In addition, he told the Romans to send a sacrifice to the Bais Hamikdash, in keeping with the Roman tradition of offering such sacrifices, and to entrust the safekeeping of the animal to him.

While on the road, Bar Kamtza inflicted a tiny blemish upon the sacrifice, not noticeable to Roman eyes. Although the Kohanim wanted to offer the animal anyway, due to the danger involved in insulting the Romans, a distinguished sage prevailed upon them not to do so. Since sacrifices offered on behalf of the emperor and Rome were thereby suspended, Josephus writes that this incident was the basis of war with Rome.