Donald Trump
Donald TrumpReuters

Former US President Donald Trump has returned archaeological artifacts belonging to Israel's Antiquities Authority, which he held in his possession at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida in recent months, Haaretz reported on Wednesday.

Haaretz previously revealed that the items were found in Trump's estate, and that senior Israeli figures have unsuccessfully tried to have them returned to Israel.

On Wednesday, the artifacts were handed over to the Israeli consulate in Miami, the report said. They will be returned to Israel after the Antiquities Authority decides on the safest way to transport them.

The information was confirmed by officials from the Antiquities Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The archeological items were originally shipped from Israel to the US in 2019 for a White House Hanukkah event attended by Trump, then in office. The items were sent with the approval of then-Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, Israel Hasson, on the condition that they be returned within weeks.

Due to bureaucratic difficulties on the American side, the artifacts were not presented at the White House as originally planned. Instead of being returned to Israel, they remained in the possession of an American-Jewish donor associated with the Antiquities Authority. Shortly thereafter, the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, and the Antiquities Authority requested the donor to keep the items in his possession until their return to Israel can be facilitated.

Last week, the Director-General of the Israel Antiquities Authority, Eli Eskozido, contacted the Israeli ambassador in Washington, Mike Herzog, who contacted Trump's associates on the matter. On Tuesday, a three-way conversation took place between Herzog, Eskozido, and a representative of Trump, and on Wednesday the items were sent to the Israeli consulate in Miami.

Eskozido conveyed that he "wishes to thank President Trump for his decision to promptly return the artifacts as soon as he learned about them."