A Rare Silver Coin from the Jewish Revolt Found in Jerusalem

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.”

Read more at Times of Israel

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


Would an American-Backed UN Resolution Calling for a Temporary Ceasefire Undermine Israel?

Yesterday morning, the U.S. vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution, sponsored by Algeria, that demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. As an alternative, the American delegation has been circulating a draft resolution calling for a “temporary ceasefire in Gaza as soon as practicable, based on the formula of all hostages being released.” Benny Avni comments:

While the Israel Defense Force may be able to maintain its Gaza operations under that provision, the U.S.-proposed resolution also warns the military against proceeding with its plan to enter the southern Gaza town of Rafah. Israel says that a critical number of Hamas fighters are hiding inside tunnels and in civilian buildings at Rafah, surrounded by a number of the remaining 134 hostages.

In one paragraph, the text of the new American resolution says that the council “determines that under current circumstances a major ground offensive into Rafah would result in further harm to civilians and their further displacement including potentially into neighboring countries, which would have serious implications for regional peace and security, and therefore underscores that such a major ground offensive should not proceed under current circumstances.”

In addition to the paragraph about Rafah, the American-proposed resolution is admonishing Israel not to create a buffer zone inside Gaza. Such a narrow zone, as wide as two miles, is seen by many Israelis as a future protection against infiltration from Gaza.

Perhaps, as Robert Satloff argues, the resolution isn’t intended to forestall an IDF operation in Rafah, but only—consistent with prior statements from the Biden administration—to demand that Israel come up with a plan to move civilians out of harms way before advancing on the city.

If that is so, the resolution wouldn’t change much if passed. But why is the U.S. proposing an alternative ceasefire resolution at all? Strategically, Washington has nothing to gain from stopping Israel, its ally, from achieving a complete victory over Hamas. Why not instead pass a resolution condemning Hamas (something the Security Council has not done), calling for the release of hostages, and demanding that Qatar and Iran stop providing the group with arms and funds? Better yet, demand that these two countries—along with Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon—arrest Hamas leaders on their territory.

Surely Russia would veto such a resolution, but still, why not go on the offensive, rather than trying to come up with another UN resolution aimed at restraining Israel?

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Gaza War 2023, U.S.-Israel relationship, United Nations