Sunday, 1 December 2013
Deutsch Files $3 Million Suit Against Israel Antiquities Authority
By Matthew Kalman
BIBLE & INTERPRETATION
Nearly two years after the spectacular collapse of the Jerusalem archaeology forgery trial and his sweeping acquittal on all charges, Robert Deutsch, proprietor of the Archaeological Center in Old Jaffa, has filed suit demanding more than $3 million in damages from the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Jerusalem District Attorney and individual officials behind the 10-year prosecution. Deutsch, one of the most prominent antiquities dealers in Israel, was acquitted in March 2012 on all six charges against him after being accused of “forgery with the intention of aggravated fraud” of various artifacts together with Tel Aviv antiquities collector Oded Golan and others.
Deutsch filed suit on 28 November in the Tel Aviv District Court against the Israel Antiquities Authority, its director Shuka Dorfman, the head of its anti-theft unit Amir Ganor, the Jerusalem District Attorney and Assistant District Attorney Dan Bahat who led the prosecution. He is seeking 12 million shekels ($3.4 million) in damages – an astronomical sum for Israel. In an interview, Deutsch said the multi-million-dollar damages demanded were “a drop in the ocean” compared to the wreckage wrought to his reputation and business by the affair. Deutsch was never accused of any involvement with the alleged forgery of either the James Ossuary or Jehoash Tablet, but when those items propelled the sprawling, 18-count indictment sheet into the headlines, as the main co-defendant his name was yoked to the allegations against Golan.
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