A Rare Silver Coin from the Jewish Revolt Found in Jerusalem

Nov. 29 2021

Two-hundred years after the beginning of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucids—which the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates—the Jews of the Land of Israel launch another, less successful uprising, this time against the Romans. To mark their aspirations for independence, the latter rebels minted coins, one of which was recently discovered by an eleven-year-old girl. The Times of Israel reports:

A rare 2,000-year-old silver shekel coin, thought to have been minted on the Temple Mount plaza from the plentiful silver reserves held there at the time, has been uncovered in Jerusalem. If it were indeed minted there, it would make the coin one of the very few items uncovered that were manufactured at the holy site.

Robert Kool, head of the coin department at the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), suggested that the coin may have been minted at the plaza of the holy site by one of the priests who worked in coordination with the rebel leaders, providing them with assistance.

The coin weighs approximately 14 grams (0.4 ounces) and has an engraving of an image of a cup on one side, with the caption “Israeli shekel” and the Hebrew letters shin and bet, shorthand for “second year,” i.e., the second year of the Great Revolt against the Romans (67-68 CE). The other side of the coin has an inscription that the IAA said was an engraving of the headquarters of the high priest, as well as the words “Holy Jerusalem” in ancient Hebrew script.

“The choice to use ancient Hebrew script, which was no longer in use at the time, is not accidental,” Kool said. “The use of this script came to express the longing of the people of the period for the days of David and Solomon and the days of a united Jewish kingdom—days when the people of Israel had full independence in the land.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Archaeology, Jerusalem, Judean Revolt, Temple Mount

Will Costco Go to Israel?

Social-media users have mocked this week new Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich for a poorly translated letter. But far more interesting than the finance minister’s use of Google Translate (or some such technology) is what the letter reveals about the Jewish state. In it, Smotrich asks none other than Costco to consider opening stores in Israel.

Why?

Israel, reports Sharon Wrobel, has one of the highest costs of living of any country in the 38-member Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

This

has been generally attributed to a lack of competition among local importers and manufacturers. The top three local supermarket chains account for over half of the food retail market, limiting competition and putting upward pressure on prices. Meanwhile, import tariffs, value-added tax costs and kosher restrictions have been keeping out international retail chains.

Is the move likely to happen?

“We do see a recent trend of international retailers entering the Israeli market as some barriers to food imports from abroad have been eased,” Chen Herzog, chief economist at BDO Israel accounting firm, told The Times of Israel. “The purchasing power and technology used by big global retailers for logistics and in the area of online sales where Israel has been lagging behind could lead to a potential shift in the market and more competitive prices.”

Still, the same economist noted that in Israel “the cost of real estate and other costs such as the VAT on fruit and vegetables means that big retailers such as Costco may not be able to offer the same competitive prices than in other places.”

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Costco, Israel & Zionism