Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade

Handbook on the Law of Cultural Heritage and International Trade

Research Handbooks on Globalisation and the Law series

Edited by James A.R. Nafziger and Robert Kirkwood Paterson

This Handbook offers a collection of original writings by leading scholars and practitioners in the exciting, rapidly developing field of cultural heritage law. The detailed essays are the product of a multi-year project of the Committee on Cultural Heritage Law of the International Law Association.

Chapter 10: Israel

Talia Einhorn

Subjects: law - academic, cultural heritage and art law, international economic law, trade law


Israel is a contracting party to both the Convention and Protocol I. The Protocol mandates that artifacts removed from an occupied territory must be returned to the competent authorities of that territory at the close of hostilities. Consequently, following the peace agreement with Egypt, Israel had to hand over to Egypt all artifacts that it had excavated in the Sinai Peninsula. Those included 24 items of special significance to Jewish cultural heritage. Egypt refused a request made by Israel to continue to exhibit these antiquities in the Israel Museum on a permanent loan basis. Instead, after their transfer to Egypt they have no longer been exhibited or available for public view or for research. UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property, 1970 Israel is not a contracting party to the 1970 UNESCO Convention. According to the Israel Antiquities Authority, however, Israel acts as a contracting state, in the sense that it treats requests made by contracting parties for assistance and cooperation in facilitating the restitution of stolen or illegally removed cultural property and admits actions for recovery of lost or stolen items of cultural property brought by, or on behalf of the rightful owners, as if it were a contracting party. UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural Objects 1995 Israel is not a contracting party to the 1995 UNIDROIT Convention. Israel is a member of the World Trade Organization.

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