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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Those ancient "Palestinian shekels"

From PMW:
A Judean Shekel coin from the year 66 CE, the first year of the Jewish rebellion against Rome, was sold for $1.1 million this past week at an auction in New York. The words in Hebrew "Shekel of Israel [Year] 1" are printed on the front of the coin, and "Jerusalem the holy" appears on the back. [New York Post, March 10, 2012]

The official Palestinian Authority daily in writing about the auction described the Hebrew coin from the Second Temple period as an "ancient Palestinian coin" and as being part of the "Palestinian cultural tradition."

The article adds that the Jews' "political agenda" takes advantage of the sale of ancient Hebrew coins. The PA, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, and only at times acknowledges that the state does exist, categorizes any archeological evidence of Israel's ancient past in the land as a "political agenda":

"It [the sale] is an opportunity for Jewish and Western scholars to use the Jewish revolt against the Romans in Palestine for a political agenda, and to connect this local revolt with the establishment of the Israeli occupation state."
Yeah, why would Jews be interested in an ancient Jewish coin from Judea that documents a Jewish revolt at the time that Jews had their own nation? Obviously, it is political!

Which brings up the question: if the coin is such a beautiful example of Palestinian heritage, why are no Palestinians bidding for it?

In a similar vein, a Jordanian named Gasser Anani gave a lecture last week about the supposed Judaization of Jerusalem, and he also talked about shekels, saying that they were realy an ancient Palestinian currency called "Shakla" and Israel "stole" them.

Of course, there is no such thing as an "ancient Palestinian currency." There would have had to be a Palestine for that to have been created. The first Palestinian currency was created by the British in 1927, and it had Hebrew on it.


In fact, the shekel is a unit of weight that was around since the Akkadian Empire and that morphed into a currency as it was usually used for silver. Jews never claimed that it was a Jewish invention; it is mentioned in the Bible as an already existing standard weight of silver in Abraham's time (Genesis 23) when he paid 400 shekels for what was to become the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

(h/t Stan)