Israel cuts funding to UNESCO

Israel will cut $1 M. of the funds it transfers to the United Nations following a resolution by UNESCO declaring Israeli sovereignty and jurisdiction over Jerusalem “null and void.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel will cut $1 M. of the funds it transfers to the United Nations following a resolution by its Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declaring Israeli sovereignty and jurisdiction over Jerusalem “null and void.”

Speaking at the start of the weekly Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Netanyahu called the resolution “delusional” and an “absurd decision.”

“I would like to say that this systematic harassment [by UNESCO] has a price. In wake of the resolution, I have instructed Foreign Ministry Director General Yuval Rotem to deduct $1 million from the funds that Israel transfers to the UN. Israel will not sit by while the organization calls for the denial of our sovereignty in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu stated.

In March, Israel a slashed $2 million in funding to the United Nations in the wake of its Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) adoption of four anti-Israel resolutions.

In January, officials said that about $6 million would be suspended as an “act of protest” against a  Security Council vote that condemned an Israeli presence in Judea and Samaria.

UNESCO has passed several anti-Israel resolutions regarding Jerusalem’s status in the past.

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In the latest such vote on Tuesday, while Israel celebrated its 69th Independence Day, a majority of 22 states voted in favor, 10 voted against and 23 abstained.

‘One Point of Light’

While the overall outcome was negative for Israel, the vote marked a shift from the near-unanimous approval seen in previous anti-Israel UNESCO votes on Jerusalem, with 23 member states abstaining and 10 – the US, Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo and Germany – opposing.

Netanyahu referred to the pro-Israel votes as “one point of light. More countries opposed this resolution than last year and fewer countries supported it.”

He thanked the countries that supported Israel, “but I would especially like to thank the Italian Foreign Minister and Prime Minister. Italy was the first European country to announce that it would oppose the resolution… I would also like to thank the President of Ukraine and the leaders of Paraguay and Togo. For the first time in UNESCO, more countries voted to oppose or abstained than voted in favor, and of course this is important.”

Israel is “working constantly to increase support for Israel in international bodies in order to reflect our growing status vis-à-vis bilateral contacts with countries. We are also working constantly to reduce, and I hope one day to cancel altogether, the UN theater of the absurd regarding the State of Israel,” Netanyahu added.

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During the cabinet meeting, Minister of Culture and Sports Miri Regev called for the closure of the UNESCO offices in Jerusalem.

UNESCO maintains an office at the UN headquarters in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood in Jerusalem alongside the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO) and the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov.

By: Aryeh Savir World Israel News