Israeli Man Influenced by Fear to Return Stolen Artifact

Jenna Miller, Editor in Chief

With the coronavirus pandemic, which has instilled fear into the hearts 

of many worldwide, causing an unidentified Israeli thief to believe the end of the world is near, said thief, as detailed by Moshe Manies in a post on Facebook, has had a change of heart and was driven by fear that the world would end to return a 2,000-year-old catapult bolt stone to the Jerusalem Walls National Park.

In around 2004 or 2005, the thief was a teenager on a trip to the City of David with his friends. Growing up in a strict Orthodox Jewish household, he lived a troubled life as a child; it is likely that this is what influenced him to commit his robbery. He rebelliously stole one of the catapult stones that was on display in a collection there. “He’s had it in his house for 15 years and all this time he’s been saying that ‘this stone is weighing on my heart,’” explained Manies to The Media Line. He reportedly stated that what made him return it to the park where he had stolen it from was so he could clear his conscience before the world seemingly ends.

“Meanwhile, he married and raised a family, and told me that for the past 15 years the stone is weighing heavily on his heart,” Manies wrote in his Facebook post, as reported by The Times of Israel. “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.”

Uzi Rotstein, an inspector in the IAA’s Theft Prevention Unit, was tagged in one of the comments of Manies’ post. His unit deals with dozens of theft cases yearly, and hopes that the story of the thief returning the artifact he stole will inspire others to do the same. “We commend the return of the artifact and appeal to anyone who has taken an archaeological artifact, to take a weight off their heart and return it to the State Treasury,” he said, according to Forward. Rotstein believes the stolen artifact is one of Israel’s national treasures and was glad to have it returned. 

“It’s really nice that as the end of the world approaches, people are righting their wrongs,” Manies reacted, as reported by The Media Line.