The Israel government has appealed Jerusalem Judge Aharon Farkash’s decision in the case of the “Jehoash” inscription, an inscription which, if authentic, would be the only surviving royal Israelite inscription. In the 5-year trial, the so-called “forgery case of the century,” the government alleged that the 15-line “Jehoash” inscription was a forgery; the judge ruled that the government had not proved its case and declined to convict the defendant, Oded Golan.
The government has now appealed the judge’s decision to Israel’s Supreme Court. If you find the government’s appeal difficult to understand, you will not be the only one.
What is the government asking on the appeal? No one seems to know.
Normally someone who appeals asks the upper court to decide in the appealing party’s favor. But that’s not the case. The government is not asking the Supreme Court to convict the defendant after the trial court acquitted him.
The government contends only that the judge could not decide whether the patina on the “Jehoash” tablet was genuine (proving that the inscription was authentic) unless a chemical analysis was made of what appeared on photographs to be genuine patina. (The photographs, incidentally, showing patina were made by the government’s expert, Yuval Goren.)
But whose responsibility was it to make this chemical analysis of the patina, if one was required? Certainly it was not the defendant’s. In short, if a chemical analysis was needed, it was the prosecution’s job to make it. How can the government now complain?
The courtroom scuttlebutt is that the government is mounting this strange appeal simply to delay the judge’s decision on whether the allegedly forged items should be returned to their owner—not only the “Jehoash” inscription, but also the famous James Ossuary inscribed “James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus.” The government has objected to the return of these items to Golan. A decision on this matter is pending with Judge Farkash.
After five years, the “forgery trial of the century” has concluded in a Jerusalem courtroom and defendants Oded Golan and Robert Deutsch have been acquitted of all forgery charges. In our free eBook James, Brother of Jesus: The Forgery Trial of the Century, Hershel Shanks explains why he believes the now-famous “James Ossuary” inscription is authentic. Plus, he provides behind-the-scenes analysis of the trial and its key players.