I wrote about Jerusalem today:
In the second century a.d., Jewish rebels who had stunned the Romans and liberated a portion of Judea overstruck imperial coins with images and a message of their own, “Year One of the Redemption of Jerusalem.”
The Roman emperor Hadrian had planted the seeds for the rebellion with his ambitions to remake Jerusalem, including the planned construction of a temple to Jupiter on the site of the old Jewish Temple.
The leader of the Jewish rebellion, Bar Kokhba, was fired by a vision of a united Israel with Jerusalem as its capital, which had been the exception during the prior millennium, thanks to the depredations of the Assyrians and Babylonians, among others. But such was the power of the national idea — and his messianic zeal — that Bar Kokhba ventured all on regaining it.
And lost. Not for nearly another 2,000 years would the vision come to fruition. At a ceremony in 1982 burying bones of some of those long-ago rebels with military honors, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin declared: “Israel and Judea are reborn. We have redeemed Jerusalem.”