Photo Credit: Damaris Vesga's Facebook page
Visitors at the archeological site of Shiloh in Judea and Samaria

The Jerusalem District Court on Monday rejected a petition filed by two extreme-left, anti-Zionist NGOs, Yesh Din and Emek Shaveh, against the Archeology Department of the IDF Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, demanding to know the names of archeologists working in digs around the liberated territories. District Court Judge Yigal Marzel ruled that publicizing their names would expose these archeologists to academic boycotts as well as possibly sabotage Israeli government archeological projects in Judea and Samaria.

Judge Marzel accepted the State’s argument that the archeologists, who testified in a separate hearing without the petitioners’ presence, would be exposed to academic boycotts should their names be published. Such boycotts could prevent the archeologists from publishing their findings in international academic journals, and they could be shunned by their foreign peers, seriously damaging their professional careers.

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Judge Marzel ruled that the potential personal harm to the archeologists and their research justifies concealing their names. A few of the archeologists who testified consented to have their names be revealed to the petitioners, and they were.

The court sided with the State regarding the petitioners’ request for information on the location of the discovered archeological finds, accepting the argument that such exposure could lead to the theft of the artifacts.

The court also rejected the petitioners’ demand to review the list of artifacts the Israel Antiquities Authority has lent out for exhibition. Judge Marzel also refused to compel the IAA to hand over the records of specific digs, Tel Batir and Tel Shiloh, in Judea and Samaria.

The court did side with the petitioners’ demand to receive a list of the digs in Judea and Samaria, as well as the dates of their completion an future plan for their use.

Yesh Din’s annual budget, based on its 2014 report to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, is $1,565,000. Its donors include the EU, the UK, Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Norwegian Refugee Council, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), HEKS (Switzerland), Norway, Ireland, Germany, and Oxfam-Novib (Netherlands).

Emek Shaveh’s annual budget, also based on a 2014 report to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, is $246,225. Its donors include Switzerland (FDFA – Swiss Foreign Ministry), HEKS (Switzerland), Cordaid (Netherlands), Norway, Ireland, Oxfam GB (UK), CCFD-Terre Solidaire (France), and Oxfam Novib (Netherlands).

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