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There Was an Attempted Coup in Israel This Week, and No One Noticed

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25.11.2018

I’m writing this column from a conference in Rome and when in Rome, I always pay a pilgrimage to the Arch of Titus - the architectural tribute to Emperor Titus, destroyer of Jerusalem, built 1936 years ago by his brother on the Forum.

No matter how many times you stand there, facing the southern panel with its depiction of the defeated, exiled Jews carrying the vessels of the Temple of Jerusalem to Rome, it’s impossible not to reflect on how far we’ve come. Back in the days before security cameras, I know Israelis who made sure to piss on the arch when no one was looking. And I totally get them.

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Being there this weekend has an extra resonance. In a few days we’ll be commemorating the 71st anniversary of UN Resolution 181 of November 29, 1947, which called for the partition of the British-ruled Palestine Mandate into a Jewish state and an Arab state. Google “Titus Arch 1947” for one of the most moving images of Jewish resurrection - the footage of the Jews of Rome gathering at the arch, along with Holocaust survivors from across Europe.

Throughout their history, Roman Jews had observed an unwritten rule never to walk beneath Titus’ Arch. But on the morning of November 30, 1947, they assembled there for the first time in joy, only three years after they had been in hiding, with the Germans rounding up deportations to Auschwitz, while the Vatican turned a blind eye - and made the most incredible prayer in the history of Jewish exile.

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© Haaretz