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For The First Time, Looted Antiquities Found In West Bank Go On Display (with VIDEO)
Looted vessels recovered from the West Bank by Israeli authorities go on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem. (Yoni Rykner)

For The First Time, Looted Antiquities Found In West Bank Go On Display (with VIDEO)

Artifacts seized by Israel’s Civil Administration are being exhibited at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem

For the first time, looted artifacts found in the West Bank are on display at the Bible Lands Museum in Jerusalem at an exhibition titled, “Finds Gone Astray.” Israel’s Civil Administration, a defense ministry body that governs large portions of the contested area, confiscated them from would-be thieves.

Since Civil Administration officials began pursuing looters several decades ago, they have recovered some 40,000 items.

“Sometimes it’s the result of the economic situation: people who are trying to find an easy way to make money by looting antiquities and selling them,” Hananya Hizmi, Head Staff Officer in the Archaeology Department of Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, revealed to The Media Line.

“There are 2,600 archaeological sites in Judea and Samaria [the biblical name for the territory now known as the West Bank], and nearly every second or third site has been plundered.”

Among the relics exhibited are rare figurines that depict the emergence of the earliest religions, as well as incantation bowls bearing ancient inscriptions in Hebrew Aramaic.

One of the goals of the show is to shed light on the destructive aspects of the illicit trade of antiquities.

“In any excavation, whatever we remove from the earth we cannot put back,” Leora Berry, Deputy Director at the Bible Lands Museum, told The Media Line. “It’s a one-way street. When it’s done without authorization, we’re losing a whole chunk of our history.”

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