Valuable statues ‘worth millions’ stolen from kibbutz museum in northern Israel

Ancient artifacts from East Asia said taken in heist in which thieves sabotage camera security system at the Wilfrid Israel Museum in Kibbutz HaZore’a

Illustrative: A police patrol car in Jerusalem, September 20, 2017. (Times of Israel/Stuart Winer)
Illustrative: A police patrol car in Jerusalem, September 20, 2017. (Times of Israel/Stuart Winer)

A number of valuable statues have been stolen from an archaeology and art museum in Kibbutz HaZore’a in northern Israel, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

Channel 12 news reported that dozens of rare items of East Asian origin were stolen from the museum, some dating from the first and second centuries. The outlet said the total value of the items stolen was “millions of shekels.”

Management of the museum told Channel 12 news that they hoped by publicizing the robbery they could prevent the sale of stolen items.

The thieves sabotaged the security cameras at the Wilfrid Israel Museum, according to the Ynet news site, and were thought to be familiar with the layout of the museum.

Photos from the scene showed a number of damaged statues on the ground.

Police have opened an investigation.

The museum was founded with a collection bequeathed to the kibutz by businessman Wilfrid Israel.

Israel engineered the emigration of thousands of Jews, including his Jewish employees, to pre-state Israel in the 1930s and 1940s, saving thousands of lives.

He played a key role in the “Kindertransport” which saved 10,000 German Jewish children, taking them to the UK without their parents in 1938.

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