By 66 CE, the Jews in many of the coastal cities were treated as despised outsiders. They were easy prey for robbers and murderers, suffering the taunts of the Europeans who had migrated there. The Roman governor of Judea, Florus, imprisoned any Jew who brought a claim against a foreigner, even if the claim was justified. He also raided the Temple treasury for his own personal gain. He encouraged Roman soldiers to provoke the Jews into rioting against him.

On one day in Jerusalem, 3,600 Jews were killed by Roman troops who had been sent in to quell the riots. Florus hoped the Jews of Jerusalem would try to avenge the slaughter so he could justify the mass killing of the Jewish population, loot their possessions, and seize the Holy Temple. Instead, the Jews organized a march seeking to make peace with the governor. The Roman soldiers, lusting for blood, charged into the crowd of marchers, killing many Jews, and continued on to the Temple Mount. Many Jews had gathered in there to block the entrances. They were successful, and the Roman soldiers retreated.

But now the Jews began revolting against the Romans throughout the land. In ever-increasing numbers they joined the movement of the Zealots who were openly preparing for warfare against the Romans. More reasonable elements, especially the Sages, tried to dissuade the people from resorting to violence, but in vain. Young Jews roamed the hills and forests, avenging violence and murder with more violence and murder. For the next few years rebels would rule the entire country.

The rebels caused Rome many losses. The Emperor Nero was sure that the Jews were rebelling against the Roman Empire itself, not just against the abuses of the governor Florus. He sent his best general, Vespasian, with 60,000 Roman soldiers and the most advanced weapons, to quell the revolt. Vespasian was joined by his son Titus. They would begin in the Galilee, in the north of Israel.