Gaza fisherman’s rated-X catch hidden by Hamas

God-Apollo-found-in-Gaza-seaAn ancient bronze casting of Greek god Apollo, hooked from the sea by a young Gaza fisherman, was seized by police and vanished from public view. Tug-of-war over a valuable artifact – or – coyness over risqué rendering of his frontal assets?  Authorities are as silent as a statue as to when it will reappear.

Joudat Ghrab plucked the life-sized deity from the sea last August, just north of the Egyptian-Gaza border.  He said he spotted a human shape lurking in shallow waters some 100 meters offshore.  He dove in and found the statue, and – with the help of family – he dragged the 500 kg figure ashore and lugged it home on a donkey cart.

“I felt it was something gifted to me by God,” the fisherman told Reuters. “My financial situation is very difficult and I am waiting for my reward.”

Handout of a bronze statue of the Greek God Apollo in GazaThe metal Greek didn’t enjoy traditional Arabic hospitality; Ghrab’s mother was appalled when saw the statue’s nakedness and demanded that his manhood (god-hood?) be covered.

Speculation spread as to the hunky god’s street value; someone listed it on Ebay at a starting bid of half a million dollars, then Hamas police seized it, claiming ongoing investigation.

Blurred photos of the young, athletic, god laid out on a Smurf-printed blanket are the only proofs that the statue exists.

“It’s unique…I would say it is priceless,” said Jean-Michel de Tarragon, a historian with the French Biblical and Archaeological School of Jerusalem. He told Reuters television, “It’s very, very rare to find a statue which is not in marble or in stone, but in metal.”

Gaza Greek godTarragon suggests that the pristine sculpture was probably cast between the 5th and the 1st century BC and added it was vital to pinpoint the discovery location. “This wasn’t found in the sea … it is very clean,” he said, noting there were no barnacles or erosion normally seen on items fished from water.

Historical records of ancient Egyptians, Philistines, Romans, Byzantines and Crusaders lie beneath Gaza sands, many sites remain unexplored. The Apollo find might prove the tip of an historical iceberg, Tarragon said.

“A statue at that time was (put) in a complex, in a temple or a palace. If it was in a temple, you should have all the other artifacts of the cult (at the site),” he said, adding that he hoped Hamas appreciated its potential importance.

Officials at Gaza’s tourism ministry told Reuters the statue will not be shown publicly until a criminal investigation into who tried to sell it concludes, but Apollo’s genitals would need be covered so as not to violate the Hamas regime’s modesty regulations.

About Laurie Balbo

At university, she was annoyed that her architecture degree was called a Bachelor of Environmental Design. As a working architect, she was annoyed that projects weren’t designed with more environmental consideration. She’s a usually-annoyed architect and sustainability specialist who hopes that venting her frustrations will make a positive environmental difference. Her husband just hopes it makes her less annoyed. Born in the United States, Laurie has managed design and managed construction of ports and airports in New York, Dublin and now Amman. She blogs on knitting and other arcane topics at Laurie can be reached at [email protected]

13 thoughts on “Gaza fisherman’s rated-X catch hidden by Hamas

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  4. Maurice

    “X-rated” of not, the Gazans should offer this statute to a world class museum like the Louvre in Paris. It should not be sold on the private market; and most definitely not be destroyed. If they do destroy it, they are no better than the Talaban were in Afghanistan prior to October, 2001.


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