Education Minister Naftali Bennett has suspended activity with UNESCO following its shameful resolution rejecting the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO on Friday, a day after the U.N. cultural agency adopted a draft resolution that Israel says denies the deep historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem.
UNESCO’s draft resolution, titled “Occupied Palestine” and sponsored by several Arab countries, uses only the Islamic name for the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site – where the Holy Temples stood. It denies the Jewish links to the Mount and the Western Wall.
A validated resolution is expected early next week, but the wording is unlikely to change.
Israelis and many Jews around the world viewed it as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett informed UNESCO of Israel’s decision on Friday.
“Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization,” Bennett said.
UNESCO chief Irina Bokova expressed dismay with the draft resolution, which came from member states, saying that “different peoples worship the same places, sometimes under different names. The recognition, use of and respect for these names is paramount.”
“When these divisions carry over into UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, they prevent us from carrying out our mission,” she said.
Bokova has no official control over resolutions, which are sponsored and voted on by member states.
The spat is the latest in Israel’s rocky relations with UNESCO, which it accuses of making decisions out of political considerations.
Bennett said that Bokova’s comments were insufficient and urged the body to take action.
“The moral support provided by UNESCO to terror will end only when the organization cancels yesterday’s outrageous decision, which denies history to please Israel haters. Words are important, but they are not a replacement to the actions of the organization she heads,” he stated.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s government in Ramallah, which initiated the resolution, welcomed the outcome, as did Hamas, the Islamic terror group that rules the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for Hamas, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction, called the resolution a “step in the right direction.”
Several countries hostile to Israel, such as Iran and Lebanon, voted in favor of the resolution — as did Egypt, which has a peace treaty with Israel. Qatar and Oman also voted in favor.
The dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest site ignited a wave of violence exactly a year ago, at the start of the Jewish New Year.
Israel has blamed the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders, compounded on social media sites that glorify violence.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
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