Daily Israel Report

Egypt Recovers 90 Artifacts from Jerusalem Auction

Israel helps Egypt recover stolen antiquities; more efforts for recovery possibly in the future
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 11/10/2013, 4:41 PM

 Stolen antiquities in Israel
Stolen antiquities in Israel
Israel Antiquities Authority

Egypt has recovered over 90 artifacts from an auction run by a Jerusalem auction house Sunday, and has asked Israel to be vigilant in looking for more possible artifacts, AFP reports. 

Egypt's Ministry of Antiquities has asked for Israel's intervention after reportedly "spotting in recent weeks a sale of 110 ancient Egyptian
artifacts on the website of an auction house in Jerusalem." 

Israel complied; Israeli authorities banned the sale after the auction house could not provide legal documentation for the artifacts, the ministry said, and ordered 90 of the 110 artifacts to be returned to Cairo.

Egypt "will ask the Israeli authorities to investigate and find pieces that have already been sold so they can be brought back to Egypt," the ministry
added.

Ali Ahmed, an official at Egypt's department of antiquities, said several ancient Egyptian artifacts were reportedly seen in Israeli auctions and that
Cairo had taken legal steps to recover the stolen items.

In October, the ministry said it had received an assurance from online auction site eBay that it would not sell artifacts that had been illegally taken out of Egypt. eBay is also guilty of selling Holocaust memorabilia, the removal of which only came just this month after considerable outrage. 

AFP also reports that  several museums were pillaged during the 2011 uprising of Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi, including the Museum of Egyptian Antiquities near Cairo's Tahrir square, which was the main site of demonstrations. Other museums were attacked in the unrest that followed the military's overthrow of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi on July 3, and many items are still missing.

This is not the first time Israel has worked with Egypt to preserve the authenticity of ancient artifacts. Last summer, Israel bought back artifacts in local antiques shops and specifically sent them back to Cairo, in a joint effort between the countries' ministries of antiquities. The move was deemed controversial to some, who alleged that Cairo has not reciprocated to return stolen Judaica.