After they burned the Temple in Jerusalem in 71CE, Vespasian and Titus kept the memory of their great victory over the Jews (and the God of the Jews), alive in the memory of the citizens of Rome with a military parade of great pomp. Josephus, the Jewish historian, was an eyewitness to the parade, Arch of Titusand records that amongst the other tokens of victory, depictions of battles and spoils of war, the Roman soldiers displayed the candelabrum from the Temple, the table upon which the shewbread was placed and the Torah. This survives in the victory arch of Titus, completed after Titus’ death in 80.
Josephus then recounts that Titus built a Temple of Peace and deposited the candelabrum, the table and the Law therein. This was a shrewdly political move, signaling the beginning of a new era of peace, and connecting Titus and Vespasian with Augustus who had set up an altar to Peace (the Ara Pacis) in 9CE. Peace, or Pax or Eirenes was a god like Victoria or Virtus. The temple, it seems was built with money that was stolen from Jerusalem. Placing the spoils of the Jerusalem Temple in the Temple of Peace, indeed parading the menorah and the table through Rome, was a sign of the ultimate defeat of the God of the Jews and the destruction of their cult. This then was the “peace” that the Romans won.Richard Meier
The Jews, however, did not understand that their God had been defeated. Rather, they saw themselves as having been punished for their sins. They continued to nurture the hope that they would return and rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem. An immediate result of this was the Bar Kochba revolt in 132.
These were the thoughts that came to mind as I read the reports of the latest episode in the predictable and predictably awful and tragic dance of death between Israel and Gaza. Israel is building a Temple of Security and is willing to sacrifice all of Gaza, and the short term security of Israel’s southern cities, on its altar. Hamas is a willing participant in this ritual. They too are willing to sacrifice all of Gaza. (People willing to sacrifice their lives for an idea or an ideal is an infinite resource which carries no moral weight, but does inevitably lead to the death of others.) The coming moves are also all too predictable. More rockets, ground troops, suicide bombers, deaths and repeat.
Some sane voices here here (especially from about 7 minutes in) and here.