Disunity and outright hatred rule the minds of the people. Everyone sees a third destruction of the “Temple” as a real threat, but no one does anything to avert it. Everyone insults their neighbor for holding a different political view. The opponents of judicial reform are no better than its advocates. I follow the many channels in the media and social networks and see how some people denigrate others. Everyone is preaching about the tragedy of Tisha B’Av, but no one is doing anything to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Everyone wants to be right, but nobody really seeks justice. A half-shekel coin from the Jewish rebellion against the Romans, recently found in a cave in the desert, reminds me of Israel’s burden.
So-called anti-reform or anti-government Israelis are no better in behavior than pro-government Israelis, who are more right-wing or Orthodox Jews. Both sides only show the bad on their respective channels. Right-wing channels only present videos or photos of “left-wing anarchists” yelling at, beating up, or almost running over a right-wing Israeli for blocking their way. Conversely, I see the same thing on left-wing channels, where the exact same kinds of videos and photos are shown, presenting everything in reverse. How “right-wing anarchists” yell at, beat up, or nearly run over a left-wing Israeli.
Nobody – or only very few – understands how to respect, praise or even agree with their neighbor on the other side of the political spectrum when they are right. How often have I argued about this with my friends in Jerusalem. The right lauds and praises everything the government is doing and will do. They have all the excuses and explanations for it. The same goes for my other left-leaning friends. They only see negative things in Bibi’s behavior. Everything he does and says is bad and wrong. They can’t even praise the Abraham Accords just because they were facilitated by Benjamin Netanyahu. But they love flying to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and they have Bibi to thank for that.
And the right-wing Bibi voters do the same. They only glorify Bibi, even though he’s “corrupt” and on trial. It doesn’t matter, the main thing is that “King Bibi” leads the people of Israel. From their point of view, he can and may be a villain and at the same time their savior. The best example of this is King David in the Bible. Israel’s greatest king, and yet no role model, villain and messiah. From their point of view, everything that opponents of reform and Bibi do is often just bad and wrong. No, not all Supreme Court rulings are bad and wrong just because the court is labeled as a leftist judiciary. The Supreme Court is also portrayed as a scapegoat in Christian circles abroad simply because it is left-wing and is seen as the enemy of Bibi and the right-wing governing coalition. Wrong, the orthodox Rabbinate is no better than the “liberal rabbinate.” They are two worldviews that view the Jewish character of Israel differently. The people need both to live a balanced life in Zion.
I refuse to believe that all the bad is on the other side and the good is with me. There is good and evil everywhere, in all groups of people. Good and evil originate in people’s hearts. (That’s why it’s important to me that many voices have their say in Israel Today, because that’s the only way you’ll get a complete picture of what’s happening in this country. And believe me, even in the editorial office we don’t agree on what what’s happening in the land. You know what? That’s normal and human.) And that’s what the people of Zion keep failing at, and that’s what I was reminded of by the discovery of a small coin in the Judean desert.
A half-shekel coin from the time of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans was recently found in a cave in the Judean desert by the Dead Sea. It is a Hebrew coin minted by Jewish rebels as part of the Jewish underground economy and used to pay tribute to the Temple in Jerusalem. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, the coin was found in the same area as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Great Jewish War against the Romans began in Judea in AD 66, triggered by state and religious oppression. The beginning of the end came in AD 70 with the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Temple. The war finally ended in 73/74 with the fall of Masada. Two more Jewish uprisings against the Romans followed in the first and second centuries.
The coin was minted with the words “Holy Jerusalem” in ancient Hebrew script rather than the Greek vernacular of the time. “This is a defiant nod to Jewish identity and the Jews’ decision to mint their own coins,” said Yaniv David Levy, numismatist at the Israel Antiquities Authority. “For almost 200 years, the Jews made pilgrimages on foot and used silver coins to pay a tax called the half-shekel tax. These coins were used for temple taxes and also for domestic economy during the uprising.” Three pomegranates are depicted on the coins minted by the Jewish rebels. The reverse of the coin depicts a chalice such as might have been used by the priests in the Temple, the words “half a shekel” and the letter Aleph, denoting the first year of the rebellion against the Romans.
The trigger for the first and second destruction of the Temple was always the brotherly hatred among the people, which divided the nation and thus made things easier for Israel’s enemies, right up to the conquest and destruction of Jerusalem. About two days ago, the Hamas leadership traveled to Tehran and met with the ayatollah regime to discuss whether to attack Israel now. They decided to postpone an attack for the simple reason that it was too early and the people of Israel would reunite immediately. The rift in the nation must become even deeper, only then would the attack be worthwhile.
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Everyone knows about the historical danger of destruction and loves to preach about it. Today, Israel marks the Jewish day of fasting and mourning, Tisha B’Av. It is the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av when the Jews commemorate the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. The coin from the time of the last destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem should serve as a reminder to us. It is necessary not only to be right, but to really strive for justice. The media in our country should sow less discord and use its platform to encourage unity. If we don’t learn to stick together and if we don’t stop looking for the negative in others, then we don’t have the privilege of being a light of the nations.
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