A rare coin traced back from the fourth year of the Great Jewish Revolt (sometimes called The First-Jewish Roman War or המרד הגדול) in 66-73 CE was recently discovered in excavations in the City of David National Park. The coin is made of bronze and inscribed with the four plant species associated with Sukkos — esrog, lulav, hadassim, and aravos. The coin was discovered during the inspection of a bucket of dirt taken from a 600-meter drainage ditch which runs under Rehov Hagai, the main road for those being oleh to the second Bais Hamikdash. The ditch, uncovered in 2007, is the largest in the underground system and is currently part of the City of David National Park. Archeologists believe that the revolters attempted to hide from Romans in the ditch. What makes this finding so spectacular is that it speaks to the final days of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans shortly before the destruction of the second Bais Hamikdash in 70 CE. This coin has the words “For the Redemption of Zion” written on them, which conveys the declining hope of winning the revolt; as just a few years prior, the coins were emblazoned with the words “For the Freedom of Zion.” The coin was discovered on the 17th of Tammuz, the commencement of the three weeks marking the Roman conquest of Jerusalem and the Temple’s destruction. “The difference between ‘freedom’ and ‘redemption’ expresses the change occurring in the rebels’ subconscious, and the reality of those days,” said Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologist Eli Shukron, who is leading the City of David excavation. According to the writings of Yosef Ben Matityahu, the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, some 2,000 rebels were killed by Romans while hiding in drainage ditches.
Redoine Faïd, a French-Algerian career criminal and dangerous gangster, has escaped from Réau prison in France and is thought to be hiding from authorities by masquerading as an ultra-Orthodox Jew in Israel. In a 2011 biography, Faïd wrote that dressing up as a Chasidic Jew would be a great way to hide from police. According to the Evening Standard UK, he is not alone and has three fellow gang members with him who are armed with AK-47s. Investigators believe he made arrangements for a helicopter to land on the prison rooftop, airlifting him to freedom. Faïd is supposed to be serving a 25-year sentence for killing a police officer, with an additional 10 years for an escape attempt back in 2013. Faïd is said to have a “strong link” with Israeli groups.
Mexico City, the largest city in North America, has elected its first ever Jewish mayor, and she is the first female ever to serve this position as well. Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo, who was born in 1962, has worked as secretary of the environment since 2015. She is a scientist, teacher, activist, and the grandchild of Mexican immigrants who came from Lithuania and Bulgaria. Sheinbaum has a history of working with government agencies and organizations. Greater Mexico City is home to more than 21 million people and is the largest Spanish-speaking city in the world, with a Jewish minority population estimated at 50,000.
There are more Jews in Israel than anywhere else in the world, beating America by one million people. According to official numbers collected by the Israeli government and provided by Immigration Minister Sofa Landver, 5.7 million Jews now live in the US, compared to 6.6 million in Israel. There has been a steady increase of Jews living in the Negev and Galilee regions. Landver says Israel is reducing administrative obstacles and increasing the number of languages available in service centers to ease the immigration process for those interested in making aliyah. Since World War II, the United States has held the title of the world’s largest Jewish population, but due to assimilation and shrinking birthrates, the numbers are shrinking. The American Jewish population was at its highest between the early 1990s and 2000s, numbering about 6 million before going into decline. In contrast, the Jewish population of Israel has increased steadily since the establishment of the state in 1948, rising from 650,000 in 1948 to 1.8 million a decade later. By 1980, there were 3.2 million Jews living in Israel, rising to 5.8 million by 2010.
After being open for two decades, Yeshiwe Ketane, an Orthodox school in Zurich, will be closing its doors to its 600 students at the end of the summer. The Education Ministry found that the school did not meet the Swiss state’s pedagogical requirements in French, English, and math. A new supervisory body over private schools found that insufficient time was devoted to certain secular subjects and that the some teachers were unqualified. Yeshiwe Ketane is one of four Jewish schools in the Swiss capital and the only one that failed to implement the requirements of the National Board of Education. To accommodate students, the Talmud Toiro School, an elementary institution whose graduates had moved on to Yeshiwe Ketane, will take over some of the curricula that seventh-graders would have been taught at the high school.
The British government has been long supportive of the Palestinian Authority’s education system, but together with other donors, they now want to review the PA’s textbooks for incitement against Israel and Jews. Based on reports from Israel’s Institute for Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education, they have found evidence of textbook citation of claims that Israel doesn’t exist and that Israel is to blame for the Muslim and Christian battles against the Jews. Australia recently said it will stop funding the PA since it has been revealed they allocate salaries for jailed terrorists and the families of suicide bombers. “There is no place in education for materials or practices that incite young minds toward violence,” Parliament Member Alistair Burt, a foreign office minister, said during a debate in the House of Commons, the British parliament’s lower house. The investigation is expected to conclude by September 2019.