Classified documents may not be the only prized items to have been placed in storage at Donald Trump’s home and private membership club in Palm Beach, Fla.
Ancient ceramic oil lamps belonging to the Israeli government have been stashed at the Palm Beach property for years — despite the Jewish state’s efforts to get them back.
The lamps were sent to the U.S. in late 2019 on the condition that they be returned within weeks, Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.
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They were meant to be briefly put on display in the White House for a Hanukkah candle-lighting event, but that never happened due to “a bureaucratic difficulty raised by the Americans,” the outlet said.
Instead of getting put on a plane back to Israel, the lamps were taken to Florida, possibly along with sensitive papers removed as Trump left office in January 2021.
Then–Israeli Antiquities Authority director Israel Hasson claimed that global events intervened in the snafu. “We wanted our man to go and bring it back, but then COVID broke out, and everything got stuck,” he reportedly told Haaretz, adding that the authority did not want to risk damaging the antiques by having them sent back on a regular passenger flight or by overseas courier.
In the interim, Hasson said, he asked Saul Fox, a prominent Jewish American donor to the Antiquities Authority, to keep the lamps in his possession until they could be returned.
Fox attended the 2019 Hanukkah event at the White House along with Trump, whose daughter Ivanka converted to Judaism before marrying her husband, Jared Kushner.
It’s not known whether Trump or anyone in his immediate orbit was aware that the lamps were on his Palm Beach property, and a representative of the former president reportedly did not immediately respond to a New York Post request for comment.
Eli Eskozido, current director of the Antiquities Authority, has contacted the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry, Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer, and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman to enlist them in the return of the lamps — so far, without success, according to Haaretz.
Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club was the subject of a court-approved FBI search on Aug. 8, 2022, in which agents confiscated hundreds of pages of classified documents.
The former president became the target of a 37-count indictment over the alleged document hoarding last month.