Freedom of Information Petition: The Antiquities Authority Must Disclose Information Regarding Conservation Work

For more than a year, the Antiquities Authority has refused to submit information regarding conservation work it had carried out between 2013- 2019.  *  Information about sites which have undergone conservation is basic and essential for researchers and visitors. * Emek Shaveh:  It is unfortunate that a professional body such as the Antiquities Authority does not share the basic understanding that information about the heritage treasures and sites of Israel must be accessible to the public.

The director of conservation at the Antiquities Authority is responsible for approximately 50 conservation projects per year.  The conservation work is one of the central activities of the Antiquities Authority, second only to archaeological excavations.  The Antiquities Authority, which is aware of its professional and academic status, regularly publishes information about the archaeological excavations that it carries out each year.  It is expected that similar information regarding conservation work performed by the Authority would also be available.  For reasons that are not clear, the Antiquities Authority has not only stopped publishing partial information regarding  conservation work, as it had done in the past, but has  refused to provide information even after the freedom of information request submitted by Emek Shaveh.

The request for information regarding sites that had undergone conservation between 2013 to 2019 was submitted  a year ago.  Such information could be instructive as to whether there is a particular policy or agenda regarding the sites chosen for conservation.  This information is critical for researchers.  Oddly, the Antiquities Authority refuses to provide the information.  Last week, Emek Shaveh petitioned the court, requesting that the information be made public.

Emek Shaveh:  The Antiquities Authority is a public body whose mission is to serve the public. The information in its possession is public information.  The information we requested is basic which is part of the scholarly discourse and which enables examination of the Antiquities Authority’s actions.  It is unfortunate that a professional body such as the Antiquities Authority does not share the basic belief that that the heritage treasures and sites of Israel, as well as the information pertaining to them, must be disclosed to the public.