Wednesday, May 07, 2008

When Israel Was Four

(I had originally thought that the coin pictured below was from 1942, but it appears that what I thought was a tchuptchik—a kind of separator that appears in Hebrew dates—is actually the Hebrew letter yud, the equivalent of the number ten. Hence: 1952.)

Ten peruta coin reverse

I found it this morning right where it is in the photograph, on a path near my apartment building.

It is a ten-peruta coin from 1952. (A peruta was one one-hundredth of the monetary unit of the time, the lira.)

Israel had fought its War of Independence, which claimed the lives of fully one percent of the population, only four years before. The destruction of European Jewry was still a recent memory, as was the time when immigration to pre-state Palestine was cruelly restricted. At that time, it must have seemed that there was no hope anywhere.

In 1952, there was hope. Fifty-six years later, despite everything, there still is.

The photo of the obverse is below the fold.

Ten peruta coin obverse

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