A painting by Israel’s most famous artist, SpongeBob SquarePants, has found its way back to the United States after years of being held hostage by Israeli authorities.
The painting was stolen from an Israeli art museum in 2011, when it was taken from the walls of a museum in the United Arab Emirates, where it was part of a exhibit called “The Secret of SpongeBob.”
It was later returned to the Netherlands and displayed at a museum of Israeli art in Jerusalem.
But Israel refused to give up the painting, saying it could be returned to its owner only if it was returned to Israel.
Israel has been seeking the return of the painting for nearly two decades.
In 2014, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a European Union summit in Brussels that the artwork could be used for a “historic exhibition” but that it would be a “very complicated process.”
The painting has been missing since 2011, and Israel refused even to give it back to Israel’s legal system.
In 2014, a court ordered the painting returned, but the government had already decided not to allow it to be returned, citing the threat of losing its diplomatic status with the EU.
The Israeli embassy in the Netherlands refused to comment.
The art has since been transferred to the Israeli Embassy in Brussels, but it has not yet been returned to it.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that the painting has not been returned and that it had not received the requested document.
It added that the Israeli government has repeatedly requested the return to the Dutch Government of the art.