Justice Minister Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) dismissed on Wednesday the 2,000-year-old coin that Economy Minister Naftali Bennett had held up during an interview with CNN to explain that Israel is not an “occupier” in Judea and Samaria.
In a post on her Facebook page after a speech in Eilat, Livni said that while no one denies Israel’s historic presence in the land of Israel, the coin Bennett held up is irrelevant in diplomatic discourse.
"I heard that the Minister of Economy, who was also in Eilat where he held up a cucumber and stated that it represented the Israeli narrative, had also appeared on CNN with an ancient Hebrew coin to convince about our right to the land,” she wrote.
"The ancient coin is indeed indicative of our historical right, and I too am filled with emotion at the sight of these historical Jewish remains. But it would be superficial to think that the coin is valid in the political sense,” added Livni.
"No one will teach me about loving this country. I have no quarrel with those elements on the right over what was here 2,000 years ago,” she stated. “We agree about the past. Our past is an integral part of us but one cannot live in the past and we must not live in the past. Our mission is to build the future.”
Livni hinted in her post that ceding parts of Israel to the Arabs will prevent a state with an Arab majority, or even a religious state.
"What kind of state do we want to have here? Is it a religious state or a Jewish democratic state? A single state with an Arab majority or a Zionist state? Will this be a state with a booming, prosperous economy or a state that is boycotted and isolated? I choose a Jewish and democratic state which is connected to the world, to globalization, to economics and to social justice,” she declared.
Earlier Wednesday, leftist organizations not only attacked Bennett's rhetoric during his interview with CNN, but also his use of the coin itself.
The leftists argue that Bennett's use of the coin violates Israeli law with regard to antiquities, which have very specific legal requirements regarding when and how relics can be used. One of them is a rule that antiquities must remain within Israel's borders - but only if they are state-owned.
In an interview with Arutz Sheva, Bennett's office stated, "The Minister has already done a good thing: he has reminded the left that this is our land, and if the price is taking an antique coin out of Israel's borders and returning it - it's worth it."