It belongs in a museum: During a weapons search police discovered unregistered antiquities

As part of ongoing weapons searches in Israel’s North, Border Police officers uncovered unregistered antiquities at a suspect’s home, according to a Maariv report on Thursday.

Border Police and Northern District Police were searching homes in the town of Ibillin as part of investigations into violence in Israel’s Arab sector. 

Police searched the suspect’s house for weapons but instead discovered a trove of unregistered antiquities.

Under the 1978 Antiquities Law, all antiquities found inside Israel belong to the state. Once found, all antiquities must be reported to the Israel Antiquities Authority within 15 days of discovery. 

Independent searches for antiquities are also illegal, and the use of digging tools or metal detectors in areas of archaeological interest leads to an automatic assumption of intent to discover antiquities, and thus confiscation.

Dealing in antiquities also requires a license from the Director of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Excavations of the Israel Antiquities Authority in the Judean Desert. The public is invited. (credit: Emil Aladjem, Israel Antiquities Authority)

Accidental discovery

During the search of the weapons suspect’s house, police discovered ancient wicks, coins, and lamps, as well as a metal detector.

The 48-year-old was detained and taken to the Shfaram police station for questioning. An Antiquities Authority Investigator was summoned to support police investigations.

The investigator confirmed that the wicks were at least hundreds of years old and confirmed the coins were from the Islamic period.

Police warned the suspect about the maintenance of the antiquities; they were transferred to the Antiquities Authority for preservation.

Inspector Nidal Abdelhalim, the chief intelligence and investigation officer at the Shfaram police station, said “In quite a few cases, we find criminals who steal antiquities are also known to us in other areas. Behind every ancient object, like the ones that were seized, there is a hundreds of year-old historical story. It deserves to be in the right hands, presented to the whole public, and not be the private property of one criminal or another.”





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