A group of 11 pro-Israel German Christians left on a boat for Israel Monday bringing with them a 5-feet, 265-pound gold-coated menorah.

A life-size replica of the Temple lamp, the menorah is traveling from Germany via Rome to the port of Haifa. It will arrive on May 5 and be presented to the public on May 9 at a special ceremony in Jerusalem.

The group of independent Germans, which call themselves simply “The Menorah Project," said they have been working on the piece for a-year-and-a-half. They raised 120,000 euros (about half-a-million shekels) in private donations to fund the initiative.
“The seven-branched menorah is a symbol of the State of Israel,” said Luca-Elias Hezel, who initiated the project. “For us, it is a symbol that speaks louder and more meaningful than all words.”

He said the menorah, modeled after the menorah at the Titus Gate in Rome, is being given to the Jewish people with “a broad heart and in solidarity” and as a gift on the 71st Israeli Independence Day.

On its website, the Menorah Project explains its vision: “As the Jewish people need to publicly deal with injustice and robbery, we want to publicly bring back the menorah from Rome to Jerusalem.”

Today, in Rome, one can still see a replica of the menorah at the Arch of Titus, which serves as a reminder of the Roman empire’s triumph over the Jews in Judea and their conquest of Jerusalem. The Romans destroyed the Jewish Temple in 70 C.E.

The robbery, the Menorah Project site explains, symbolically stands for the distance between the early church and its Jewish roots, which ultimately led to what is known as Replacement theology, the idea that God replaced Israel with the Church and the original Bible (Old Testament) with a new one. Replacement theology is often blamed as the root cause of antisemitism, including the Holocaust.

“The church never returned the holy instruments back to the Jewish people,” the Menorah Project explained. “Instead, the church saw itself as the new spiritual Israel….We want to set a statement. We want to accept our failures as a church as set a sign of return.

“It is a public statement towards the Jewish people and an act of asking for forgiveness as well,” the project continued in a statement. “The replica of the menorah is not meant to be a cult-object but shall finds it place as a memorial in Jerusalem.”





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