The IAA May Seek to Ban ALL Antiquities Dealing

Arrest of Jerusalem antiquities dealers opens a smuggling Pandora’s Box

Use of Israel as a way station to legitimize sale of looted artifacts to Hobby Lobby prompts Antiquities Authority to seek ban on all dealing

A few paragraphs in-

During Sunday’s operation, which involved the Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel Police and Israel Tax Authority, the East Jerusalem homes and businesses of five antiquities dealers were raided, garnering previously unreported antiquities including ancient parchment pieces written in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin, as well as ancient weapons, sculpture from the Hellenistic and Roman periods, pottery and bronze, silver and gold coins.

A report by NPR this week also listed among the items confiscated by police papyrus fragments from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the bust of an Etruscan woman, and a fresco from Pompeii depicting swimming fish dating back thousands of years.

Israel Police spokeswoman Luba Samri confirmed the additional seizure of two black luxury Audi vehicles and more than $200,000 in cash on Sunday. Samri said the raid followed a joint investigation with American law enforcement agencies that had been informed of Israeli antiquities dealers who had issued fake receipts and invoices over the past seven years, sparking an undercover operation that exposed the scheme.

In a conversation with The Times of Israel, Eitan Klein, deputy director of the IAA’s Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Looting, said the case is significant in that it highlights the fraudulent use of Israeli law in the dealing of artifacts looted across the Middle East.

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