On Monday, Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, celebrated the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem with his U.S. counterpart, UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Danon gave Haley a powerfully significant gift, a coin from the Great Revolt, minted in Jerusalem in 68 A.D.
“The people of Israel are grateful for your leadership, for President Trump’s leadership,” Danon told Haley after the two shared a toast to the new embassy’s opening. “We want to give you a small present, an ancient coin from the old city of Jerusalem, from the city of David, it says on it ‘Freedom of Zion.'”
The coin dates back to the second year of the Great Revolt, when Israeli Jews rebelled against the Roman Empire, a pivotal moment in world history. One side of the coin reads, “Freedom of Zion,” and the other reads, “Year Two of the Revolt.”
— U.S. Mission to the UN (@USUN) May 14, 2018
Haley responded with a toast, “In honor of our friendship, our partnership and now the US embassy in Jerusalem!”
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. has long been a supporter of the Jewish state, and she has reprimanded UN bodies for their disproportionate focus on Israel’s alleged human rights abuses despite the far worse records of other nations.
“When the Human Rights Council treats Israel worse than North Korea, Iran and Syria, it is the Council itself that is foolish and unworthy of its name,” Haley declared in a March statement attacking the UN council.
Haley also received a standing ovation in abstentia when President Trump’s son-in-law and advisor Jared Kushner thanked her for her support of the move at the official embassy opening on Monday.
The Great Revolt (66-73 A.D.) represented a key turning point in Jewish history. After festering resentment and Roman repression, the Jews rose in revolt against Rome, but were ultimately defeated. Jerusalem fell to the Romans in 70 A.D., and the remaining Jewish warriors committed suicide when the Romans broke the siege of Masada. This revolt also saw the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the last time the Jews held Jerusalem until the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
During the continuous wars against the Romans between 66 and 136 A.D., the Roman authorities expelled the Jews from Israel, beginning the nearly 2,000-year Jewish diaspora. The Jews had been expelled once before, during the Babylonian Captivity, but they returned to the land after King Cyrus of Persia defeated Babylon and helped the Jews rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
The Great Revolt represented the last time the Jews ruled Jerusalem. It represented the last period of Jewish independence while the Temple of God stood on Mount Zion.
The destruction of the Temple had tremendous religious significance. Jesus of Nazareth predicted its destruction and based Christianity on the idea of worshiping God “in spirit and in truth,” as opposed to focusing on the geographic center of worship. This tragic event powerfully altered Judaism, leading to the disappearance of the Sadducees and the emergence of the Rabbinic Judaism of the modern era.
This coin thus represents a tremendously meaningful gift from Israel to the U.S., on par with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu comparing President Donald Trump to the Persian King Cyrus the Great.
Israeli Jews overwhelmingly approve of the U.S. Embassy moving from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and they have a positive view of President Trump as well.