The former president up and stole antiquities that were lent to the White House for a Hanukkah celebration in 2019
ISRAEL LENT SEVERAL antiquities to the White House in 2019, including ancient clay lamps for a White House Hanukkah event. Unfortunately, Donald Trump was president at the time, which means the artifacts are now at Mar-a-Lago, and Israel can’t figure out how to get them back, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.
The artifacts were only supposed to be in Washington, D.C., for a few weeks. Israel Hasson, then the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, told Haaretz that because they are so valuable, he wanted someone to pick them up instead of having them shipped overseas. The pandemic derailed these plans, and the artifacts remained in the White House. Israeli authorities learned several months ago that they wound up at Mar-a-Lago.
Eli Eskozido, who took over for Hasson at the Israeli Antiquities Authority, has solicited the help of the Israeli government and Trump’s former U.S. ambassador to the nation in his efforts to retrieve the artifacts — to no avail.
Somehow, the former president stealing ancient Israeli artifacts isn’t surprising. Trump all but ransacked the White House on his way out of office, most notably absconding with hundreds of classified documents. Trump was criminally indicted for his handling of the documents in June, and yet still thinks he’s entitled to the sensitive material. Rolling Stone reported late last month that he was demanding his lawyers figure out how to get “my documents” back after the government retrieved them, even as it became clear he would be indicted for hoarding them.
The Israeli Antiquities Authority is worried about getting the artifacts back, but also about where Trump might be storing them in his Palm Beach estate, given that he kept government secrets in boxes haphazardly stacked in ballrooms and bathrooms. One source told Haaretz they wouldn’t be surprised if “the items Israel seeks are also eventually found in some bathroom.”
It’s too bad Israel can’t call on Indiana Jones as a final recourse. These items clearly belong in a museum, and Mar-a-Lago a museum is not.
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