Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall. (Hadas Parush/Flash90) (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Kotel Temple Mount
Dore Gold

Director-General of the Foreign Ministry Dore Gold. (AP/Khue Bui)

Israel on Wednesday dispatched sharp letters to the 33 countries, including France, Russia, Spain and Sweden, which supported a resolution by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) that ignores Jewish historical ties to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Authored by Foreign Ministry director-general Dore Gold, the missive called the resolution “outrageous” and said it is “part of a disturbing trend that seeks to deny the deep-rooted links between the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”

“Although the UNESCO resolution will have no practical effect, we will not allow international actors to blur the Jewish connection to its eternal capital,” Gold wrote in his letter.

Gold noted that the Jewish name for the holy site, the “Temple Mount,” was excluded from the text and replaced with the Muslim reference, the al-Aksa Mosque and al-Haram al-Sharif.

The resolution, sponsored by six Arab states, Algeria, Egypt, Kuwait, Morocco, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinians, also referred to the Western Wall plaza by its Muslim name, Al-Buraq Plaza.

Gold also noted that every aspect of Jewish religion, history and archaeology were presented in the resolution as fiction, referring to “Jewish fake graves,” and “so called Jewish ritual baths.”

Only six counties, the US, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, voted against the resolution, while 17 countries abstained.

Irina Bokova

Irina Bokova , the Director-General of UNESCO. (AP/Jacques Brinon)

Meanwhile on Wednesday, UNESCO head Irina Bokova sent a letter distancing herself from the decision, in response to an earlier protest letter sent to her by Member of Knesset Yair Lapid, Israel Radio reported.

Bokova wrote that the decision was made by the economic council and the management council of UNESCO, which are both management bodies, and was not made by her.

She also noted that she has said in the past the UNESCO must not be politicized.

In October, Bokova “deplored” the draft resolution when it was presented. At the time, she appealed to the UNESCO Executive Board to make decisions that do not further inflame the current tensions in Israel and that encourage “respect for the sanctity of the holy sites.”

“The protection of cultural heritage should not be taken hostage, as this undermines UNESCO’s mandate and efforts,” Bokova added.

Jerusalem is a Holy Land of the three monotheistic religions, a place of dialogue for all Jewish, Christian and Muslim people and a mosaic of cultures and peoples, whose history has shaped the history of all humanity,” she underscored.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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