Times of Israel..
15 August '12..
A few weeks ago, as I stood in front of my “Amazing Israel” Birthright group on top of Masada on a blazing 48 degrees Celsius (115 Degrees Fahrenheit) day, I realized that it was not the time for a lengthy discussion on the history and importance of the site. I reached into my trusty Tour-Guide backpack and brought out a 64 year old Israeli coin that symbolised all that was important, meaningful and indeed miraculous about Masada and the modern State of Israel…
The Great Revolt ended with the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE and the fall of Masada in 73 CE. This was followed by the erection of triumphal arches and minting of victory coins by the triumphant Romans. The coin minted by Vespasian to commemorate this hard-won victory portrayed a palm tree symbolising the Jewish homeland, with a Roman soldier in full armour standing victoriously over a weeping woman symbolising the destroyed Jewish nation. The coin bore the legend, “Iudaea Capta” (Judea has been captured)
|Judea Capta coin, c. 70 CE|
In 1948, to commemorate its reestablishment, the State of Israel minted a coin in the former Roman administrative capital of Caesaria (the only coin not to be minted in Jerusalem) also depicting a palm tree for the Jewish homeland, but instead of a Roman soldier, there was a Jewish woman holding a baby up to the heavens symbolising the rebirth of the Jewish people like a phoenix out of the ashes of the Shoah, and in place of the weeping woman was a Jewish farmer (her husband) planting new roots for the Jewish people in our homeland. The coin bore the legend: “Israel Liberated 1948″. These two coins sum up the history of exile and return to our land. In the prophetic words of the Bible: “They who sow in tears shall reap in joy.” (Psalm 126)
|Israel Liberated coin, 1948|
Tuvia Book, is the author of “For the Sake of Zion: A Curriculum of Israel Education” (JAFI: 2010), a licensed Israeli Ministry of Tourism Tour-Guide and a doctoral candidate in Jewish Education.
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