Among those captivated by the recent story of the little Israeli girl who stumbled on a 2,000-year-old half-shekel coin – only to learn some days later that what she had found was a roughly 15-year-old souvenir – was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Various news outlets reported last week that Hallel Halevy, 8, had discovered a rare coin from the days of the Jews' Great Revolt against the Romans, from 67 to 70 C.E., when walking to get her little sister from kindergarten in the West Bank settlement of Halamish, north of Ramallah.
Not only wasn’t the find a rare coin, it wasn’t a coin at all, at least according to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. Officials noted that it’s a replica, dating back anywhere between 15 to 20 years, created as part of its educational program for kids. They also noted that the object had an imprint on only one face, not two, as coins do. The coins were given to children as a souvenir.
Meanwhile, however, Netanyahu had joined the trend, uploading a photo of the item on his Facebook page and writing how the coin, ostensibly a half-shekel dating to the era of the Second Temple, had been found in the province of Benjamin, in the West Bank. The moving discovery, the premier wrote in his post, further attests to the deep ties between the people of Israel and their land – including ties to Jerusalem, the Temple and Judea and Samaria.
Netanyahu’s Facebook editor, Yonatan Orich, says the post has been removed until the issue can be clarified.
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