Israeli group honors Nikki Haley with coin

This Wednesday, March 13, 2019. photo shows a coin emblazoned with the face of Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, to commemorate her defense of Israel in the United Nations, in Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin, a Jewish group that says it aims to restore the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem, is one of three groups behind the coin. (AP Photo/Dusan Vranic)

JERUSALEM — An Israeli organization has minted a coin emblazoned with the face of Nikki Haley, President Donald Trump's former ambassador to the United Nations, to commemorate her defense of Israel in the world body.

The Sanhedrin, a Jewish organization that dreams of restoring the Jewish Temple, where ancient temples once stood in Jerusalem's Old City, is one of three religious groups behind the Haley coin.

"She supported Israel and she told the truth ... that all the United Nations, all its agenda, is to destroy Israel," Hillel Weiss, spokesman for the group, said Wednesday. "She acted in a manner that represented biblical tenets," he added.

Weiss said that Haley's decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Human Rights Council and her criticism of what Israel and the U.S. say is an anti-Israel bias at the U.N. earned her the recognition.

His group's coin features Haley's face set against the United Nations building with a Jewish menorah on the front, and a stylized rendition of the Jewish Temple on the back. The collector's item costs $65 for silver and $90 for gold, plus shipping, according to its website .

Haley, a devout Christian who helped strengthen ties between Israel and the American evangelical community, has attracted the adoration of Israel's religious and nationalist right wing.

Haley became known at the U.N. for her hard line against Iran and her derision of the Human Rights Council. She often chided the council for focusing singularly on Israeli abuses and neglecting poor records of other states — a stance lauded and echoed by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

In her last pro-Israel gesture after announcing her surprise resignation last fall, she proposed a resolution condemning the Hamas militant group for violence against Israel.

Haley also championed President Trump's decision to cut all U.S. funding to Palestinian refugees and recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Trump, a hero to the Sanhedrin group for that very reason, is the face of the group's other coin, first minted last year. The token depicts Trump alongside the Persian King Cyrus. Weiss said he has sold 20,000 of the Trump coins so far.

The Trump administration's decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, celebrated by Israel, prompted the Palestinians to sever ties with Washington. The Palestinians seek east Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war, as the capital of their future state.

Proceeds from the biblical coins, the website says, will go toward preparations for establishing the third Jewish Temple — an aspiration with explosive political implications.

The hilltop spot that housed the biblical Temples is revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the holiest spot in Judaism. Today it is considered the third-holiest site in Islam, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. The competing claims to the compound serve as a frequent flashpoint of violence.

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