Israel has an existing law that any finds of ancient artifacts found in the land belong to the government.

Recently in the northern Israel city of Afula, a man was arrested for illegally digging up thousands of ancient coins and arrowheads and seeking to possibly sell them abroad. “Following intelligence information and a covert investigation in cooperation with international law enforcement agencies, the IAA (Israel Antiquities Authority) theft prevention unit raided the Afula Ilit resident’s home on July 7.

The suspect allegedly smuggled at least part of the illegally obtained antiquities abroad for sale in public auctions.” This was not the first time for the unnamed suspect, as he had served time in jail for the same offense. Ilan Haddad, head of the theft prevention unit said, “Apparently the punishment was not adequate for him to learn from his mistakes.”

He gives a good summary of the offense: “It’s heartbreaking to see how people are harming antiquities sites and looting ancient finds, thereby disrupting the restoration of our history for the sake of greed.”

(Source: The Times of Israel)