Thursday 21 November 2013

Israeli Minister Flashes Ancient Coin on US TV

Israeli Economy Minister Naftali Bennett flourished an ancient Jewish coin (Second Temple era) he had in his pocket on American TV on Wednesday to demonstrate the Jewish people’s entitlement to the Land of Israel.
Responding to a question from CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about settlement construction in what she called “the occupied West Bank,” Bennett said that he did not accept the term “occupied.” Taking the coin from his pocket, he held it up to the camera and said, “this coin, which says ‘Freedom of Zion’ in Hebrew, was used by Jews 2,000 years ago in the state of Israel, in what you call occupied. One cannot occupy his own home.”
Wow.  Numismatics comes to the aid of oppression. Unfortunately for the tub-thumping minister, the Israeli antiquities law bars the removal of any antiquity (dating from before 1700 AD) from the country without written permission of the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority or someone acting on the director’s behalf (Nir Hasson, 'Ancient coin that Bennett flashed on CNN was illegally removed from Israel', Haaretz Nov. 21, 2013) and it seems the politician had none for his wandering pocket-piece.
It was unclear whether the minister, who is currently on a visit to the U.S., was aware that the ancient coin he displayed in New York cannot be legally taken out of Israel. [...]  “The coin is currently making its way back to Israel, after a Zionist mission in front of tens of millions of Americans,” Bennett’s office said, when asked about its removal from the country. “Next time, the minister’s bureau will be meticulous in advising that the coin is going abroad.” [...] Bennett’s bureau added: “Incidentally, the coin was legally purchased at a well-known, licensed antiquities shop [...].”
Of course. And where in "Zion" was it dug up? On the Israeli part of the West Banky part?

Ancient coin used in political argument
(film posted on You Tube by Naftali Bennett·)

UPDATE 22 Nov 2013:
Over on Peter Tompa's blog, my text here is labelled:
an attack on the Israeli Economy Minister, Naftali Bennett in what some people might well regard as an anti-Semitic slur.
An "attack"? "Anti-semitic"? Eh? Such remarks suggest the writer sees no difference between having concerns about the social injustice of the country's policy regarding the 'West Bank' and  being "anti-Semitic". I suppose the same accusation would be levelled too at all those folk who voted to allow Palestine to have a voice in UNESCO last year. Still what can one expect from collectors some of whom have no compunction about buying coins from Israeli dealers taken from Palestinian territory?


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