“It’s the End of the World,” Says Repentant Israeli Antiquities Thief

15 years after stealing artifact, Israeli man fears we are now approaching final judgement

Many Israelis fear the end of the world is approaching.
Miriam Alster/FLASH90

PHOTO: While Israel’s infection rate has been relatively low, the coronavirus has resulted in apocalyptic scenes like empty restaurants and malls.

A religious Israeli Jew who believes we are in the end times and is no doubt wary that we will all soon stand in judgement before God sought to clear his conscience by returning something he stole 15 years earlier.

That something was an ancient Roman ballista stone used during the siege of Jerusalem in 70 AD. The unidentified Israeli man had swiped it while visiting an archaeological exhibition as a youth.

Now married with children, he turned to a go-between named Moshe Manies to return the artifact while avoiding possible arrest.

Manies posted about the ordeal on Facebook:

“One of the boys took one of the stones home. Meanwhile, he married and raised a family, and told me that for the past 15 years the stone is weighing heavily on his heart. And now, when he came across it while cleaning for Passover, together with the apocalyptic feeling the Coronavirus generated, he felt the time was ripe to clear his conscience, and he asked me to help him return it to the Israel Antiquities Authority.”

That got the attention of an inspector with the Israel Antiquities Authority, who contacted Manies and retrieved the ballista stone.

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