$2.34 million needed to repair Negev park


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Repairing the damage done by vandals to an archeological site in the Negev will cost $2.34 million.

Cabinet ministers were briefed Sunday on the extent of the vandalism in the Oct. 4 attack on the Avdat National Park.

The director-general of the Israel Nature and National Parks Protection Authority, Eli Amitay; Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch; and Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov also discussed the plan to repair the damage to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In the attack, ancient artifacts were knocked down, smashed and spray-painted. A 1,700-year-old altar was destroyed, thousand-year-old arches were knocked down and ancient pillars were toppled, according to reports.

Two Bedouin men were arrested for allegedly vandalizing the site; one reportedly was the park’s guard. According to reports, they may have attacked the site out of anger over the razing of a relative’s home during demolition of 23 illegal Bedouin structures in the South.

The men have denied any involvement in the vandalism.

Avdat is one of four Nabatean cities in Israel and dates back to the third century BCE.

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