Israel’s premier museum for Islamic art has scrapped the planned auction of scores of rare and precious items after public outcry over the attempted sale, which had been expected to fetch millions of dollars from wealthy private collectors.

The Sotheby’s auction house will return items from the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem currently in London back to Israel immediately.

 Under the arrangement, the Al Thani Collection, an art foundation funded by the ruling family of the energy-rich Gulf Arab state of Qatar, “will generously provide an annual sponsorship to the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art” for 10 years, while one of the Islamic Art Museum’s pieces will be given on long-term loan to the Al Thani Collection’s gallery in Paris.

KAN's Mark Weiss spoke with art historian Dr Sefy Hendler, the director of the Tel Aviv University gallery, and asked him how this saga began.