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Trump Is Holding Jewish Antiquities At Mar-A-Lago, Israel Wants Them Back

Quick Summary:

  • Donald Trump’s Florida mansion, Mar-a-Lago, is reportedly housing ancient Israeli national treasures, including ceramic candles.
  • Despite several retrieval attempts, these valuable artifacts remain at the resort, possibly since 2019.
  • Bureaucratic hurdles and COVID-19 complications led to an extended stay of these items in the US.
  • The ongoing saga adds another layer to Trump’s relationship with Israel, particularly after his fallout with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

An Unusual Vault for Ancient Artifacts

Nestled in Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, a trove of ancient Israeli national treasures is allegedly waiting to be retrieved. These include time-honored ceramic candles and other valuable artifacts, according to sources quoted by Israeli media. The prized objects have reportedly spent an extended vacation in the sunshine state, much to the chagrin of Israeli officials who have been seeking their return.

The Curious Journey from the White House to Mar-a-Lago

Originally, these treasured artifacts journeyed across the Atlantic to add a touch of authenticity to a 2019 Hanukkah event at the White House. The plan was for a short trip: a quick showcase in Washington and a prompt return to Israel. But between bureaucratic red tape and a global pandemic, the plan derailed.

Instead of lighting up a corner of the White House, the artifacts encountered a change of address. The reason? Bureaucratic hurdles on the US side, according to Hareetz. However, rather than being shipped back to Israel, the artifacts found themselves “stuck” in the US.

A Pandemic Pause and Safety Concerns

Israel Hasson, the then-director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, explained the reasons behind the unexpected delay. The Authority had fears that the valuable items might get damaged in transit, so they discarded the option of using a flight or a shipping company. A personal retrieval by a staff member was planned, but the COVID-19 pandemic put those plans on hold.

Instead, Saul Fox, a significant Jewish-American benefactor to the Israeli Antiquities Authority, was entrusted with safeguarding the artifacts until they could be safely returned.

The Grand Florida Detour

Earlier this year, a surprising development unfolded. Israel reported that the missing artifacts were at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Florida estate, where they remain to date. Meanwhile, a full-scale backstage campaign is underway to retrieve the items, with the Israeli Antiquities Authority seeking assistance from the Israeli foreign ministry, the strategic affairs ministry, and former US ambassador David Friedman.

Despite the complicated saga, it remains unclear whether Mr. Trump, who had a personal fallout with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu post his election defeat, knows about the artifacts at his estate. The Telegraph has reached out to Mr. Trump’s office and Israel’s Antiquities Authority for comment on this intriguing tale of displaced antiques.