Israel Antiquities Authority inspectors foiled an attempt to smuggle an ancient statue head to an antiquities collector in the United States. The statue, which dates to the Byzantine period, is made of very fine quality limestone and was carved by an artist. According to the suspect his father received the statue from former Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan æ"ì.
 
Inspectors of the Antiquities Authority recently thwarted an attempt to smuggle abroad an ancient statue that probably dates to the Byzantine period (fifth-sixth centuries CE). The statue is in the image of a woman; it is made of very fine quality limestone and was carved by an artist. Inspectors believe it was sent by a resident in the south of the country to an antiquities collector in the United States.

During the investigation, which was conducted by inspectors of the Unit for the Prevention of Antiquities Robbery, the suspect stated his father was given the statue as a present many years ago by former Minister of Defense Moshe Dayan æ"ì for services his father provided to Dayan. According to him the statue was forgotten and only recently found. The statue was confiscated as evidence and the investigation file was turned over to the state prosecutor’s office for preparation of a charge sheet.

The Antiquities Authority reiterates that the export of antiquities from Israel without the express permission of the Antiquities Authority is a criminal offense punishable by up to two years imprisonment and a fine.