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Dead Sea Scrolls Believed Looted from Hebron Synagogues

October 23, 1952
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

The charge that the Hebrew Scrolls discovered sometime ago at the Dead Sea came from looted synagogues and the library of Judah Babis in the city of Hebron, which were sacked by the Arabs in the bloody riots of 1929, is made by Prof. Solomon Zeitlin in the current issue of the Jewish Quarterly Review, published by Dropsie College.

Prof. Zeitlin, who from the beginning questioned the antiquity and authenticity of the Scrolls, claims that they were not in fact discovered in caves near the Dead Sea by Bedouins, but were stolen by Arabs in the Hebron massacres and then hidden for many years before being produced as new finds. He points out that for the last few years many of the Torah Scrolls which were stolen from Hebron were offered for sale by men connected with the Syrian Convent who also bought the Dead Sea Scrolls from an Arab.

“The Hebrew Scrolls, supposedly found by Bedouins, and brought to the Syrian Convent by merchants, may also have come from Hebron, concealed for a time in local caves,” Dr. Zeitlin says. He does not question the integrity of any scholar or anyone connected with the Hebrew Scrolls, but does question the veracity of the merchants who claimed that the Scrolls were discovered by Bedouins.

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