Sarcophagi Returned in Goodwill Gesture

YERUSHALAYIM -
Egyptian Ambassador Hazem Khairat (left) shaking hands with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold on the return of ancient artifacts to Egypt. (Mendel Elram/Israeli Foreign Ministry)
Egyptian Ambassador Hazem Khairat (left) shaking hands with Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold on the return of ancient artifacts to Egypt. (Mendel Elram/Israeli Foreign Ministry)

In a goodwill gesture reflecting the warming of relations between Israel and Egypt, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over on Sunday to the Ambassador of Egypt two ancient relics that had reached Israel illegally.

The two artifacts are covers of Egyptian sarcophagi, or burial caskets. 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 they were seized, the sarcophagus covers have been held under climate-controlled conditions, in the laboratories of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Director General 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 Hazem 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 returning the rest of smuggled antiquities found in Israel.