For months, Jerusalem has been investigating the theft of a huge number of rare antiquities. In a joint operation on Wednesday morning, as Judith Sudilovsky documents, Israeli officials raided a location in the village of Qalil, near Nablus, recovering thousands of ancient relics:
Rare coins from among the oldest used in the Land of Israel, as well as relics from the Persian and Hellenistic periods and coins from the time of the Great Jewish Revolt were among the confiscated finds. They are estimated to have a value of hundreds of thousands of shekels.
The operation was part of the extensive efforts undertaken by the [West Bank] Civil Administration’s Archaeology Unit over recent years to preserve archaeological finds, and root out the theft of antiquities in the Judea and Samaria area with the help of advanced technology.
“The Civil Administration is pursuing many avenues, both public and confidential, in order to preserve the archaeology of Judea and Samaria,” said the Civil Administration’s head Faris Atila. “Following a long and intricate operation, thousands of rare archaeological items that had been stolen by a specialist in archaeological theft were located. The operation was important, with significance in breaking the chain of traffic in antiquities in Judea and Samaria. The Civil Administration will continue working tirelessly against the shameful phenomenon of destruction and theft at the archaeological sites of Judea and Samaria, protecting the cultural and historical assets of the area.”