Emek Shaveh


In their own words“Emek Shaveh is an organization of archaeologists and community activists focusing on the role of archaeology in Israeli society and in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”



  • Claims to view “heritage sites as resources for building bridges and strengthening bonds between different peoples and cultures, and we see it as an important factor impacting the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
  • States that “archaeological findings should not function as a means to prove ownership by one people or one religion over a given tract of land. The archaeological finding is an integral part of local culture… The development of an archaeological site located within a built-up area cannot be justified if it ignores the local community.”

Political Advocacy

  • While Emek Shaveh claims that it “oppose[s] attempts to use archaeological finds to legitimize acts that harm disadvantaged communities,” it promotes distorted facts and unsubstantiated positions that promote the Palestinian narrative of victimization and sole Israeli aggression.
  • Despite claims that Emek Shaveh is “working to defend cultural heritage rights and to protect ancient sites as public assets that belong to members of all communities, faiths and peoples,” its publications exclusively criticize Israel and Israeli institutions.
  • Utilizes highly biased and politicized rhetoric, accusing Israel of seeking “to demolish Palestinian village on ‘archaeological’ grounds,” and claims that the Elad Foundation is attempting to “Judaize” Jerusalem.
  • In June 2023, Emek Shaveh, alongside 16 Israeli NGOs, published a joint report titled “State of the Occupation – Year 56: A Joint Situation Report” affirming that “that after 56 years of occupation, Israel’s actions in the West Bank today meet the criteria of apartheid.” According to the report, “The current government’s steps, motivated by its stated Jewish supremacy ideology, will also deepen the apartheid regime governing nearly all aspects of oPt Palestinians’ lives.”
  • In February 2023, Emek Shaveh accused Israel of “Jewish supremacy,” a phrase that repeats the canard that labels Jewish self-determination as inherently racist and signals the embrace of a “one-state” agenda.
  • In August 2022, Emek Shaveh was a signatory on a statement condemning the decision by the Israeli Ministry to designate six Palestinian NGOs as terrorist organizations. According to the statement, “We stand in solidarity with our fellow human rights defenders in Palestinian society. We repudiate these baseless declarations and call on the international community to pressure Israel to revoke its decision.”
    • In October 2021, Emek Shaveh signed a joint statement claiming that “The Minister of Defense’s designation of prominent Palestinian civil society organizations, among them our colleagues in the Palestinian human rights community, as terrorist organizations, is a draconian measure that criminalizes critical human rights work.”
  • In May 2021, Mizrachi participated in a webinar hosted by the Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) titled “The Role of Archaeology in East Jerusalem Settlement Efforts.” Mizrachi alleged that “Settler groups, backed by consecutive right-wing governments, have invested millions of shekels in excavating, preserving and curating Jerusalem‘s ancient sites to render its historic core a non-negotiable part of the Israeli state,” and that “Palestinian residents have been subject to serial evictions and have experience damage to their properties in the shadow of ongoing settler-led archeological excavations and development works.”
  • In April 2021, Emek Shaveh petitioned the High Court objecting to the Ministry of Jerusalem and Heritage’s “discriminatory policy” of “conserving the country’s national and Zionist heritage.”
  • In December 2019, Emek Shaveh published a report examining Israel’s efforts to “intensify Israeli presence [in green areas between Israeli and Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem], erase the Green Line, both physically and psychologically, and edge the Palestinians out.”
  • In January 2019, Amnesty International published a report on the “The Tourism Industry and Israeli Settlements,” which relied on materials from Emek Shaveh. The report denied Jewish connections to historical sites and faults Israel for preserving Jewish historical and cultural heritage, as well as places that are holy to Christians.
  • In April 2018, Emek Shaveh and Yesh Din, published “Appropriating the Past – Israel’s Archaeological Practices in the West Bank,” a report that analyzed “how the State of Israel is trying to use archaeology to prove the historical, religious and cultural affinity of the Jewish people with the West Bank, as yet another means of justifying its ongoing policy of dispossession, occupation and control in the Occupied Territories.”
  • As part of its East Jerusalem project funded by the Secretariat, Emek Shaveh released a report claiming that Israel archaeological projects are “intended to prove and to strengthen the historical, religious and cultural affinity of the Jewish people and the State of Israel to the West Bank in an attempt to appropriate history and efface the heritage and historical narratives of other peoples and cultures.”
  • In April 2017, Emek Shaveh called on the public not to visit tourist sites in the West Bank during Passover, claiming that “choosing a trip route is a political act. It is an opportunity to strengthen the residents who live alongside them.”
  • In an interview with the Makor Rishon newspaper in September 2016, Emek Shaveh CEO Yonatan Mizrahi stated that “It is preferable that an archaeological site be frozen than it will pass into the hands of the settlers.”
  • In March 2016, a video was published on social networks claiming that the State of Israel was digging tunnels under the Al-Aqsa mosque. In the video, Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement, “warns about the Zionist attack against Al-Aqsa.” Gideon Solimani, field coordinator and archeologist for Emek Shaveh, also appeared in the video and talks about the archeological excavations under the Old City stating, “they dig there, they will reach some tunnel, an ancient canal, and will reach under Al-Aqsa.”
  • In a 2014 interview with +972 Magazine, Yonathan Mizrachi compared Israeli archeological searching to the Hamas terror tunnels, saying:  “These tunnels, like those of Hamas, are being dug under a heavy cloak of secrecy. As with the Hamas tunnels, they serve as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are also being dug under the houses of uninvolved civilians, in this case Palestinians. However, while the Hamas tunnels are described as serving terrorist purposes, these tunnels have been authorized by the Supreme Court of Israel, and all the relevant arms of the state have been mobilized in their support.”
  • A February 2013 report, “From Silwan to the Temple Mount,” alleges, “Excavation sites are changing the lay of the land, lending force to an historical narrative focusing on the Jewish people, and marginalizing the Palestinian residents from their environment and from their connection to the Temple Mount/al-Haram a-Sharif.” Emek Shaveh thus presents an inaccurate narrative and omits Waqf excavations on the Temple Mount, which attempt to erase Jewish history from the holy area.
  • Maintains: “If Palestinians and Israelis are ever to enter a serious dialogue on a future of coexistence and mutual respect, Israeli archaeology must end its involvement in the battle of identities, promoting understanding between cultures rather than ethnic exceptionalism. It must broaden its horizons and become much more than a prop to given histories.” This statement altogether omits the Palestinian role.
  • Emek Shaveh lobbies EU decision makers, often the very governments from which it receives funds. EU decision papers often rely on such NGO claims as “facts,” thereby creating a closed echo chamber effect that excludes pluralistic debate.

Funding based on reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits

2019 amounts based on NGO annual financial reports; 2020-2023 amounts based on quarterly financial reports submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits.

European Union203,659541,834329,9181,162,462
Switzerland (Swiss Foreign Ministry)150,375618,56077,349122,825244,546
HEKS (Switzerland)84,487187,804167,04169,238110,781
CCFD (France)58,07156,439
New Israel Fund109,377

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