(JNS.org) Three Palestinians were arrested by Palestinian Authority (PA) security forces on Monday for attempting to smuggle an ancient statue of King Herod’s second wife from a Palestinian village into Israel.
“Based on intelligence information, security forces burst on Sunday into a home in Zeita, a village in north Tulkarm, and carried out a complicated security operation, during which they arrested three archaeologists and confiscated the statue,” said a statement from the Palestinian Preventive Security Services (PPS).
Archaeologists had been negotiating to sell the statue of Mariamne I, King Herod’s second wife, for $600,000 to an Israeli-Arab merchant. The PPS said that the operation to arrest the smugglers “is part of the tireless efforts invested by the PA to protect archaeological treasures and prevent their smuggling to Israel, which attempts to distort and steal Palestinian history.”
The statue is 12 centimeters (4.7 inches) high and valued at almost $1 million. King Herod ruled in Judea for 33 years and reconstructed the Second Temple of the Jewish people.