Tags: us | jerusalem | israel | sukkot | vandalism | history

Israelis Arrest US Tourist for Smashing Ancient Sculptures

By    |   Friday, 06 October 2023 04:45 PM EDT

Israeli police arrested an American tourist Thursday for allegedly smashing two ancient Roman sculptures in a Jerusalem museum.

The Jerusalem Post reported the American, in his 40s, allegedly destroyed the two artifacts, estimated to be from the second century, for being "blasphemous" and "in violation of the Torah" at the Israel Museum in the city.

The report said the suspect was detained by museum security after they observed him destroying the statues, which were placed in the archeological department's permanent exhibition.

The museum called the incident "extremely worrying" in a statement to the publication.

The Times of Israel reported that authorities released photos of the pieces smashed on the museum floor. One of the sculptures appears to be a head of Athena, which archeologists discovered in Tel Naharon in 1978.

Another photograph showed the destroyed sculpture of a griffin holding a wheel dated from 210-211 C.E. and discovered in northern Negev in 1957, according to The Times.

The report said surveillance showed the suspect wandering around the museum with a stick that police believe was used to damage the artifacts.

The broken artifacts were transferred to the museum's conservation lab to be professionally restored, the report said.

The incident took place during the weeklong Jewish holiday of Sukkot, which comes five days after Yom Kippur and celebrates the harvest and the protection God gave the Israelites when they left Egypt, according to Chabad.org.

The holiday leads to increased tourist travel to Israel and Jerusalem by people primarily from North America, The Times said in the report.

The New York Post reported that the suspect in the case is being held through Monday to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

"This is a shocking case of the destruction of cultural values," Eli Escusido, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority told the Post. "We see with concern the fact that cultural values are being destroyed by religiously motivated extremists."

The report said that the history between the Jews and the Roman Empire was particularly fraught during the Romans' siege to the city and destruction of the second temple in 70 C.E.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque now stands on the temple's former site and is considered one of the most politically and spiritually tense locations in the Middle East, according to the Post.

The report said that five people allegedly spat at Christians and churches in the Old City on Wednesday.

Charles Kim

Charles Kim, a Newsmax general assignment writer, is an award-winning journalist with more than 30 years in reporting on news and politics.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Israeli police arrested an American tourist Thursday for allegedly smashing two ancient Roman sculptures in a Jerusalem museum.
us, jerusalem, israel, sukkot, vandalism, history
Friday, 06 October 2023 04:45 PM
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