The Jerusalem Post (Matthew Kalman to be specific) reports
Antiquities Authority determined not to return dozens of items to Israeli collector accused of faking burial box of Jesus’s brother.
The Antiquities Authority, backed by State Attorney Moshe Lador, has launched a desperate rearguard action to reverse its humiliating defeat in a seven-year trial that ended with the acquittal of an Israeli collector accused of faking the burial box of the brother of Jesus and an inscribed stone tablet that may have hung on the wall of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The latest twist came during a routine sentencing hearing at the Jerusalem District Court last Tuesday, two months after the stunning collapse of the high-profile prosecution. Prosecutor Dan Bahat revealed that the Antiquities Authority was determined not to return dozens of items, including the burial box and the stone tablet to their owner, despite his acquittal on all the relevant charges.
This bit is priceless:
Bahat compared it to returning drugs to a dealer acquitted on a technicality.
In other words, everyone knows he’s OJ guilty but the court wasn’t convinced beyond a reasonable doubt (or whatever the Israeli equivalent is). Indeed
The Antiquities Authority has shown no sign that it accepts the not guilty verdict. Its spokesmen continue to describe the items in the trial as fakes and the authority appears to be determined to punish Golan despite losing the case. Bahat said the decision to seek confiscation of the property and a harsh sentence had been taken personally by the state attorney.
… the Antiquities Authority seems determined to enforce its will through the courts rather than academic discussion – and to pursue legal action against anyone who dares to challenge its diktat. The authority ordered the unprecedented prosecution of the late Prof. Hanan Eshel of Bar-Ilan University for buying important artifacts and studying them before handing them over to the state. Last week, the authority was back in court in Nazareth, prosecuting a resident of Zipori for “damaging” an ancient tomb that he discovered and was trying to preserve.
Read the whole, well written, piece.