Vandals attacked and heavily damaged an Antiquities Authority site near Afula
overnight Wednesday, destroying findings dating back to the First Temple
“All the signs” pointed to a group of haredi activists as the main
suspects, due to their opposition to what they describe as the desecration of
graves, Dror Barshad, an archeologist for the authority’s northern district,
told The Jerusalem Post.RELATED:
Herod began building Western Wall, but didn't finish it
“They rioted at another archeological site
nearby, at Yakuk,” Barshad said. “With no legal authority, they take the law
into their own hands and try to dictate where roads and tunnels can or can’t be
The same group vandalized a second archeological site near the
Kinneret last month, he said.
“Our ability to continue to research the
area that was vandalized overnight is over.
We were mapping out the whole
area and had findings from 1000 BCE to 600 BCE,” he said.
Authority was digging at the site because a road is being paved in the area.
Such salvage digs are designed to preserve ancient findings for future
generations, Barshad said.
“The whole ancient world passed through
Israel. As an authority, we strike a balance between development of homes and
roads, and safeguarding antiquities,” he explained.
“I expect the Israel
Police to carry out a full investigation and for the courts to finally decide
that the law is what guides us here,” he said.
Barshad said archeologists
were frustrated by the fact that precious findings are increasingly being
“The damage was extensive,” Israe
l Police spokesman Micky
Rosenfeld said. “We have removed evidence from the scene and are examining a
number of possible motives for the attack,” he added.
officers from the police’s northern district have also entered the
investigation, Rosenfeld said.
The container housed pottery, large water
containers, work tools and cooking utensils.