Archaeology and Politics, Again

Senior archaeologists are up in arms over an amendment to the Antiquities Authority Law proposed by Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat , which they say will shift the political slant of the Israel Antiquities Authority’s board of directors to the right. Critics say Livnat has proposed the legislation to prevent the appointment of Prof. Yoram Tsafrir as chairman of the board of directors of the authority and to allow her to instead appoint archaeologists identified with the political right. Opponents of the bill also say Livnat has also been changing the makeup of the country’s senior archaeological body, the Archaeological Council, which advises the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority and the minister who oversees the Israel Antiquities Authority.

It seems that Elad has its tongue in the ear of the IAA chief-

Over the past year,three new members were appointed to the Archaeological Council: Dr. Gabriel Barkay, Dr. Ronny Reich and Dr. Eilat Mazar. All three are known for their work in excavations funded by Elad in East Jerusalem. Reich was elected head of the council.


Archaeologists critical of Livnat’s moves also say scholars from Bar-Ilan University have a greater representation on the Archaeological Council than other universities.


Emek Shaveh, an organization of archaeologists and community activists identified with the left wing said: “The day is coming when Israeli archaeology will be nationalistic archaeology whose main function is to serve as a tool in political debate about the country.”

I thought that had already happened, on the whole. What a shame that politics continues to muck around in archaeology.

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