Stolen Jerusalem antiquity returned


JERUSALEM (JTA) — A stone that disappeared 12 years ago from a Jerusalem excavation site has been returned.

The 46-pound fragment of a 1,200-year-old marble column, which disappeared from an excavation south of the Temple Mount in 1997, was returned to Israel in a wooden crate specially constructed for the antiquity, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority.

The antiquity was returned after the authority received an e-mail from a clergyman in New York state saying that a member of his congregation confessed to stealing it from the site while an archeology student on an organized trip to Israel.

"For the past twelve years since then, rather than remind me of the prayer for Jerusalem, I am reminded of the mistake I made when I removed the stone from its proper place in Israel. I am asking for your forgiveness,” said a letter that accompanied the antiquity when it was returned this week.

The stone will be returned to the archeological garden from which it was taken. No action will be taken against the repentant thief.

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