Israel Returns Smuggled Ancient Relics to Egypt

Israel Returns Smuggled Ancient Relics to Egypt

Photo: Shlomi Amsalem/GPO

Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid presented to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry 95 Egyptian relics that were illegally smuggled into Israel last week, which occurred during Lapid’s diplomatic visit to Cairo to hold talks with President Abdel Fattal El-Sisi.

“At the request of the Egyptian authorities and as a gesture of goodwill, the Israeli government and the Israel Antiquities Authority decided to return the items to the Egyptians,” Israel’s Foreign Ministry stated on Facebook. 

Four of the relics were caught in 2013 at the Ben Gurion Airport after a dealer attempted to smuggle the Egyptian antiquities into the country. The relics were purchased by the dealer in England; he attempted smuggling them into Israel without passing through customs.

Indeed, Israel, which is arguably the only Middle Eastern country with a legal framework which enables the purchase and selling of antiquities in stores with proven provenance, is a significant crossroad in the international trade in antiquities. Egyptian, and Middle Eastern antiquities, eventually find permanent homes into the United States and mainland Europe through its regulated market. 

The Israel Antiquities Authority updated the Egyptian authorities on the incident. In the same year, Egyptian authorities notified the Israeli authorities that other smuggled relics were held in an antiques store in Jerusalem.

As a result, the Israel Antiquities Authority opened an investigation at their request, which led to the seizure of 91 archaeological items. 

During his one-day visit to Cairo, Lapid met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to discuss issues related to national security, such as reconstruction of the Gaza Strip and Iran’s goals to obtain a nuclear weapon.

“Egypt is an especially important strategic partner for Israel, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue between us,” Lapid said.

In the last years, Egypt has been focused on the repatriation of its internationally smuggled heritage. Its government saw persistent efforts to repatriate artifacts from the United Kingdom, Italy, France and the United States among other countries.

 In a session held at the end of November, Egypt was included as a contender for the UN’s latest draft resolution on the restitution of its heritage. 

Egypt Climbs 19 Positions in 2021 Global Knowledge Index
Egyptian Researcher Patrick George Zaki Released After Nearly Two Years in Jail

Subscribe to our newsletter


More in News

Former Al-Azhar Dean Condemned for Victim-Blaming Murdered Mansoura Student

Mona Abdou22 June 2022

Egypt Loses $23 Billion from COVID-19, Ukraine Conflict

Shereif Barakat21 June 2022

Egyptian Woman Slaughtered at University ‘For Rejecting Man’

Amina Zaineldine20 June 2022

Egyptians Can Now Apply to Join Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Reality Show

Eleonora Christo Vostanis18 June 2022

Arrivals to Egypt No Longer Need to Worry About COVID-19 Restrictions

Egyptian Streets17 June 2022

Egypt’s Prime Minister Urges Egyptians to Rationalize Food Consumption

Egyptian Streets16 June 2022

Egypt, Israel, and EU Sign Deal to Export Natural Gas to Europe

Marina Makary15 June 2022

G7: We Stand With Egypt During Wheat Crisis Caused By Russia

Shereif Barakat15 June 2022