Israeli Authorities Arrest Antiquities Dealers in Connection With Hobby Lobby Scandal : Parallels : NPR
At 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, Israeli police say, authorities arrested five Palestinian antiquities dealers in Jerusalem and confiscated items dating back thousands of years from their homes and shops: papyrus fragments from the Egyptian Book of the Dead, the bust of an Etruscan woman, a fresco from Pompeii depicting swimming fish. They also seized more modern objects — two black luxury Audi vehicles — and more than $200,000 in cash.
NPR has learned the reason for the early Sunday morning arrests: Israel’s Antiquities Authority says the dealers were involved in sales of antiquities — including items that U.S. authorities determined were smuggled — to Hobby Lobby, the national U.S. arts and crafts chain.
The arrests could have a chilling effect on Jerusalem’s storied antiquities market, making it harder for pilgrims, tourists and high-end collectors to legally own a piece of history from the land of the Bible.