Hundreds of illegally traded artifacts seized by Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem

Raid of Mamilla Mall shop follows new regulations by IAA to monitor international black market.

By
June 15, 2016 16:59
1 minute read.
Inspectors from the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities >> Robbery during the Tuesday aid o

Inspectors from the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities >> Robbery during the Tuesday aid of the Mamilla store. . (photo credit: COURTESY OF IAA)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

A multitude of illegally traded rare antiquities, including bronze arrowheads and coins bearing the names of Hasmonean rulers, were seized by the Antiquities Authority on Tuesday during a raid of a souvenir shop in Jerusalem’s upscale Mamilla Mall.

The items, which the store’s unidentified owner is not licensed to sell, were recovered following an investigation by the authority’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery after he attempted to sell some of the relics to undercover investigators.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


According to the authority, the raid follows regulations enacted in March requiring antiquities dealers to manage their commercial inventory using a computerized system developed by the authority to prevent such illicit trade.

“The move, which tracks the items, was designed to prevent antiquities dealers from ‘laundering’ illegal artifacts that are the product of antiquities robbery, namely the illicit excavation of archeological sites that eradicate knowledge about the country’s and the world’s cultural heritage solely for the purpose of profit,” the authority said in a statement.

“The souvenir shop was selling antiquities at the prestigious mall even though it had not obtained a license to do so.”

Dr. Eitan Klein, the authority’s supervisor in charge of the antiquities trade, said the regulations were enacted due to the rampant sales of plundered antiquities on the international black market.

“Prior to enacting the regulations, the situation with the ancient market was nothing short of miraculous, whereby there was always an abundance of finds on the shelves,” he said.



“Yet the dealers were constantly bemoaning the fact that sales were extremely weak. These reports raise questions about the remarkable survival of these stores for decades. In practice, it was abundantly clear that in order to supply the merchandise, antiquities sites in Israel and around the world were being plundered, and history was sold to the highest bidder.”

Klein noted that the raid of the Mamilla store is a small part of the broader effort by the authority to “preserve the cultural heritage of the State of Israel, which belongs to all of its citizens, and prevent the laundering of stolen antiquities by manipulating the commercial inventory of authorized antiquities dealers.”

An indictment against the store’s owner is expected to be filed this week, the authority said.

Related Content

Channel 1 news anchor Geula Even Sa'ar
August 21, 2018
Israeli news anchor draws ire over comments about Corbyn and Avnery

By AMY SPIRO