An American tourist was arrest for destroying a Roman era statue at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem last Thursday. The museum said the vandalized artifacts dated to the 2nd century AD.
Reporting from the Times of Israel, police said the museum visitor deliberately. Destroy and damage several statues stored in the museum’s archeology section. The reason was that the statue offended his religious sensibilities.
The Israel Museum only said that the two artefacts destroyed were ancient Roman statues dating from the 2nd century AD. The museum emphasized that the statues on display were genuine artefacts.
From the photos released by the authorities
two statues can be seen falling from their pillar and breaking into several pieces. The piece appears to be a 2nd century AD head of Athena found in 1978 at Tel Naharon near Beit She’an. and a statue of a griffin holding a wheel of fate representing the Roman god Nemesis is dated to 210-211 AD and discovered in 1957 in the northern Negev.
Police said that museum security guards detained the 40-year-old man before police arrived and arrested him. The museum provide a photo of a stick that they say the suspect use to roam the museum, and may have been use to carry out the destruction.
The damaged statues were moved to the museum’s conservation laboratory for professional restoration, he said. Although the incident is worrying, the museum said it will not affect its operations or opening hours.
Claims to suffer from Jerusalem syndrome
The lawyer for the unnamed vandalism suspect claimed that his client was suffering from a delusion known as Jerusalem syndrome. According to the National Institutes of Health, Jerusalem syndrome is an acute psychotic state that occurs in tourists and pilgrims visiting Jerusalem. The main symptom of this disorder is identification with a Biblical character and displaying behavior that seems characteristic of that character.
Museum officials believe the man attacked the objects because he felt the Roman statues were idols and went against the Torah.