Dir-Gen Gold said that it is hoped that the handing over of these ancient items will be a precursor for further bilateral cooperation in the field of historical heritage, as well as other fields of mutual interest to the benefit of both countries.
(Communicated by the MFA Spokesperson)
At a ceremony held today (Sunday, 22 May 2016) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem, two ancient relics from Pharaonic times that had reached Israel illegally were handed over to Egyptian Ambassador to Israel Hazem Khairat
The artifacts consist of two covers of Egyptian sarcophagi. One of the covers is dated to the period between the 10th and 8th centuries BCE (the Iron Age) and the other is dated between the 16th and 14th centuries BCE (the Late Bronze Age). The items had been smuggled from Egypt through a third country before they arrived in Israel, where they were seized by the Israel Antiquities Authority. Since their seizure, the sarcophagus covers have been held under climate-controlled conditions in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority.
In order to transfer the items, several bureaucratic procedures had to be completed. This was made possible in the framework of the longstanding peace treaty between the countries, and thanks to the strengthening dialogue between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Egypt in Israel.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director General Dr. Dore Gold said that it is hoped that the handing over of these ancient items will be a precursor for further bilateral cooperation in the field of historical heritage, as well as other fields of mutual interest, to the benefit of both countries.
Ambassador Khairat said that Egypt appreciates the efforts made by the Israeli authorities to return these smuggled antiquities to their country of origin, Egypt, and is looking forward to the return of the rest of the smuggled antiquities found in Israel.