The Israeli Emblem

The Israeli emblem reminds us of a very sad story that happened many years ago. In the year of 70 C.E., a Roman general, Titus, captured the city of Jerusalem, and his armies savagely destroyed the Holy Temple. They seized the golden Temple Menorah. To shame their unfortunate Jewish prisoners, Roman soldiers forced them to parade in chains through the streets of Rome carrying the captured Temple Menorah.

The Romans felt so proud of this triumph that they pictured the event on a monument called the Arch of Titus. Today, the Arch of Titus still stands in Rome, and the picture of the Menorah can still be seen. To the Romans, the story celebrated might and triumph, but to the Jewish people the story told the worst humiliation: the loss of independence in their homeland.

After almost two thousand years and much agony and bloodshed, the modern State of Israel reestablished the Jewish Homeland. Although the Temple and the Menorah were not actually rebuilt, The Jews felt that in a symbolic way, the Menorah had been saved from its ancient disgrace and restored to its original glory. The Jewish dream of independence and return has finally come true.

The Olive Branches:

The emblem of Israel shows the Menorah surrounded by two olive branches. The prophet Zechariah, who lived in the sixth century had a vision. He saw a golden seven branched menorah flanked by two olive trees. Our Rabbis interpreted this vision to mean that the Temple and the State of Israel would someday be restored to their former glory. Also, olive branches are symbols of peace.

This huge bronze menorah is in the Knesset courtyard in Jerusalem. It was a gift from the people of England.

Source: Joint Authority for Jewish Zionist Education in the Diaspora in Canada