Mitch Pilcer, a bed-and-breakfast hotel owner from the Galilee area town of Tzippori was convicted by the Nazareth Magistrates Court on Wednesday for damage to antiquities. He was sued by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Pilcer found the grave of Rabbi Yehoshua Ben Levi on his property while conducting renovations.
Rabbi Yehoshua was a third century scholar who is mentioned in the Talmud. He headed a Talmudic academy in Lod and later in Tiveria.
The Israel Antiquities Authority removed the stone door to the tomb from the property to conduct tests on it. Pilcer previously filed a court petition to try and prevent an archeological dig from disturbing the site or his family. Some scholars debate as to whether the grave is of the same Rabbi Yehoshua of the Talmud.