Biblical Archaeology Review 24:3, May/June 1998

First Person: General Drori in Command

Does Israeli archaeology need military discipline?

By Hershel Shanks

In the nearly ten years that retired general Amir Drori has led the Israel Antiquities Authority, he has brought order and efficiency to a department that had been notably disorderly and inefficient. But he has yet to treat the archaeologists who work for him as professionals rather than as junior officers.

These archaeologists are particularly vulnerable because there is no other place for them to go to practice their profession except the universities, which themselves are retrenching under financial pressures. Life can be miserable for any archaeologist who crosses Amir Drori. There have been enough examples that this is widely understood.

Drori also wants to build an empire. His archaeologists must publish their reports in the Authority’s publications. This cuts out such prestigious publications as the Israel Exploration Journal (the journal of the venerable Israel Exploration Society) and Tel Aviv (the journal of the Tel Aviv University Institute of Archaeology) and other academic outlets all over the world. This often means that Antiquities Authority archaeologists cannot contribute articles on their current work to festschrifts honoring other scholars.

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