Israeli Officials Say They Can’t Get Back Artifacts That Are ‘Stuck’ at Mar-a-Lago

Senior Israeli officials said this week that they’re unable to get back artifacts that were reportedly being held at Mar-a-Lago, Donald Trump’s Florida estate.

According to a report by the Israeli publication Haaretz, these antiquities had been lent in 2019 for exhibition at the White House in Washington, D.C., where they were supposed to remain for a set number of weeks. But apparently, these objects were never returned.

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“Then COVID broke out, and everything got stuck,” Israel Hasson, director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, told Haaretz.

The antiquities, a set of ceramic oil lamps, never ended up getting shown at a Hanukkah event, reportedly due to a bureaucratic issue.

It isn’t entirely clear how these objects made their way to Mar-a-Lago, or if Trump even knew that they may have been there, based on the Haaretz report. Members of the Israeli Antiquities Authority claimed they had made attempts to obtain the antiquities once more, but said they had never been successful.

During his presidency, Trump had made efforts to affirm a strong relationship with Israel, even at one point recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, which “in effect quashed the possibility that East Jerusalem would ever belong to a Palestinian state,” according to the New Yorker. More recently, Trump claimed he could “easily” be the Prime Minister of Israel.

US Presidents have regularly hosted Hanukkah events, with George W. Bush’s administration bringing this ritual within the walls of the White House starting in 2001. Menorahs deemed to be of significance are regularly lent for these events.

At one Trump-hosted Hanukkah event in 2017, he declared Jerusalem to be Israel’s capital and announced plans to bring the American Embassy there, a move that Palestinian officials decried.

The Haaretz report was published hours before Trump said he had received a letter stating that he was the target of a federal investigation into his moves to retain power after the 2020 US Presidential election.


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