The Israel Antiquities Authority believes that a set of ancient ceramic oil lamps missing for more than three years are at Mar-a-Lago, the Florida estate of former president Donald Trump, according to Haaretz.
Haaretz reported on Tuesday that the Israel Antiquities Authority loaned the White House the lamps in 2019 ahead of a Hanukkah party where a major donor to the Israel Antiquities Authority, Saul Fox, would be in attendance. The lamps ultimately did not make an appearance at the event.
The return of the items was hindered by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, when travel was severely restricted. The authority required that a staffer accompany items of such value while they travel. They were to remain in Fox’s possession for a limited time until they could be returned.
Various other sensitive materials were discovered at Mar-a-Lago
After a long delay, the authority learned several months ago that the items have ended up at Trump's Florida estate, according to Haaretz. A large amount of other sensitive material was found at Mar-a-Lago, including government documents that Trump was allegedly not cleared to take with him when he left the Oval Office.
Trump has been indicted on Espionage Act charges for retaining some of the documents, which were uncovered in storage spaces, a bedroom, and a bathroom among other places. It is unclear whether the matter of the ancient Israeli lamps will shed light on that case.
The Israel Antiquities Authority has sought for senior Israeli figures close to Trump, including former US ambassador to Israel David Friedman and former Israeli ambassador to Washington and current Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, to intervene to help return the items, so far to no avail, Haaretz reported. It is unclear whether Trump knows the ancient Israeli lamps are there.