A Rare Coin from 1st-Century Judea Found in the U.S.

While Israel is awash with ancient artifacts of significance to Jewish history, there are many fewer in America. Thus it was an unusual event when U.S. authorities handed over a nearly two-millennia-old coin to Israeli officials. The Associated Press reports:

American authorities have returned a rare, 2,000-year-old Jewish coin to Israel nearly two decades after it was looted, smuggled, and put up for auction in the United States, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Tuesday.

The quarter-shekel silver coin, made in the year 69, is one of just two confirmed to exist. The other has been in the British Museum’s collection for a century. It was minted during the fourth year of the first Jewish Revolt against the Roman empire in the 1st century CE. Several other examples of the coin are believed to be in private collectors’ hands.

According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the coin was one of a hoard stolen by Palestinian looters from the Elah Valley west of Jerusalem—the site of the biblical battle between David and Goliath—in 2002. It was then smuggled to Jordan and on to Britain, where it received false documentation and was sent on to the United States.

It was slated to be sold at an auction in August 2017 but was seized by Homeland Security agents before it went on the block.

Read more at Associated Press

More about: Ancient Israel, Archaeology, Judean Revolt, US-Israel relations

To Save Gaza, the U.S. Needs a Strategy to Restrain Iran

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, America has given Israel much support, and also much advice. Seth Cropsey argues that some of that advice hasn’t been especially good:

American demands for “restraint” and a “lighter footprint” provide significant elements of Hamas’s command structure, including Yahya Sinwar, the architect of 10/7, a far greater chance of surviving and preserving the organization’s capabilities. Its threat will persist to some extent in any case, since it has significant assets in Lebanon and is poised to enter into a full-fledged partnership with Hizballah that would give it access to Lebanon’s Palestinian refugee camps for recruitment and to Iranian-supported ratlines into Jordan and Syria.

Turning to the aftermath of the war, Cropsey observes that it will take a different kind of involvement for the U.S. to get the outcomes it desires, namely an alternative to Israeli and to Hamas rule in Gaza that comes with buy-in from its Arab allies:

The only way that Gaza can be governed in a sustainable and stable manner is through the participation of Arab states, and in particular the Gulf Arabs, and the only power that can deliver their participation is the United States. A grand bargain is impossible unless the U.S. exerts enough leverage to induce one.

Militarily speaking, the U.S. has shown no desire seriously to curb Iranian power. It has persistently signaled a desire to avoid escalation. . . . The Gulf Arabs understand this. They have no desire to engage in serious strategic dialogue with Washington and Jerusalem over Iran strategy, since Washington does not have an Iran strategy.

Gaza’s fate is a small part of a much broader strategic struggle. Unless this is recognized, any diplomatic master plan will degenerate into a diplomatic parlor game.

Read more at National Review

More about: Gaza War 2023, Iran, U.S. Foreign policy