Report: Historical Manuscript Returned to Turkiye after Being Taken by Israel’s Rescue Team

A member of the Israeli rescue team holds the ancient manuscript of the Book of Esther. (Photo video grab)

Israel returned a historical manuscript that was reportedly taken to Israel by the search and rescue team, dispatched to Turkiye following the deadly earthquake that hit the country on February 6, Turkish media reported.

The Turkish Haber7 news website said that the Israeli search and rescue team took the Book of Esther from the earthquake-damaged Synagogue of Antakya, in the Hatay province. The manuscript was later returned to Turkiye following mediation by the local Jewish community.

The Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism confirmed on Sunday that the Anti-Smuggling Department has begun an investigation into this case.

“All allegations (…) are being meticulously investigated by the Anti-Smuggling Department of our Ministry and the process is handled in coordination with our Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” the Ministry said.

The ministry also said in a series of tweets that it is committed to preserving the heritage manuscripts of all cultures and religions.

The Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronot published a news item last week, confirming that the Israeli search and rescue team had moved the historical Book of Esther recovered from the Antakya synagogue to Israel, alleging that they did it in an attempt to preserve the scrolls.

The Israeli newspaper published pictures of a man, who was reportedly a member of the Israeli team, holding the scrolls.


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