“And what,” I asked him, “are those two olive trees, one on the right and one on the left of the menorah?” ZECHARIAH 4:11 (The Israel Bible™)
The menorah and olive branches depicted in Zecharya’s vision were chosen as the centerpieces of the State of Israel’s emblem. According to its designers, the olive branches symbolize the state’s peaceful intentions. The image of the menorah, copied from the Arch of Titus, attests to the link of the Jewish people with their glorious past in their homeland, and Israel’s return to its former luster. There are perhaps no two better symbols to represent the Jewish people. Oil is extracted when pressure is applied. In a similar fashion, the Jewish people are refined when faced with difficulty, as hardship allows one to become more sensitive to others and form a closer connection with Hashem. It follows that olive oil is used to light the menorah, representing clarity and wisdom for the entire world.