Bedouin indicted for vandalizing ancient Negev site

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Two Bedouin men were indicted for vandalizing an archeological site in the Negev.

The cousins, both 22, were indicted Wednesday in a Beersheva court.

Artifacts at the Avdat National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, were knocked down, smashed and spray-painted last month. A 1,700-year-old altar was destroyed, thousand-year-old arches were knocked down and ancient pillars were toppled, according to reports. The cost of the damage has been estimated at $2.34 million. Avdat is one of four Nabatean cities in Israel and dates back to the third century BCE.

The men caused the damage as a response to the state’s demolition of illegal structures erected by their clan near the site, according to police.

A high-ranking Israeli preservation official called the vandalism "unparalleled," according to Ha’aretz.

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