For years BAR has been the only public forum to deal with questions of public policy and current events in archaeology. Not even the Israeli publications, scientific or popular, have ever provided a format for such discussion. The Association of Archaeologists in Israel (AAI), a professional association of archaeologists established in 1984 (see BARlines, BAR 11:01), is now attempting to establish a newsletter (in Hebrew at present). The newsletter will serve as a forum for public debate on current issues, for example: professional ethics, philosophical questions, public policy in archaeology, and archaeology from an economic perspective. The AAI Newsletter will also discuss:

• the function of the universities, the Department of Antiquities, and other archaeological institutions,
• the problem of publication rights and timetables,
• enforcement of antiquity laws,
• the antiquity trade and its effect on plunder.

The AAI itself has encountered opposition from several quarters. The Israel Exploration Society, a publisher and roof organization for archaeological activity that also caters to the wider public, has been suspicious of the AAI’s motives and wary of potential competition in the areas of archaeological publication, archaeological group excursions, paying membership and political influence. Much of this suspicion was founded on a misunderstanding of AAI’s purpose and on personality conflicts between the two organizations’ respective leaderships. In fact, there should be no conflict of interest and little, if any, grounds for acrimony. In the meantime, some of the most important establishment archaeologists have not joined us. But we hope that it is just a matter of time before they do.