Wednesday, January 05, 2005


Israel has been hurling accusations for awhile, but now seems bo getting serious
The former head of the antiquities laboratory at the prestigious Israel Museum is the fifth suspect in a sophisticated forgery ring that allegedly produced a treasure trove of fake Bible-era artifacts, a government official and museum spokeswoman said Monday.

The rings has been accused of forging what had been heralded as perhaps the two biggest biblical discoveries in the Holy Land in recent years - the purported burial box of Jesus' brother James and a stone tablet with written instructions by King Yoash on maintenance work at the Jewish Temple.

Justice Ministry spokesman Uri Steinberg named the suspect as Rafael Braun. He said he was the fifth person appearing on an indictment that was handed down by a Jerusalem court last week.

Among those named is Oded Golan, owner of the James ossuary. Biblical Archaeology Review has already put him on trial.

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