Israelis across the political spectrum reacted in outrage and defiance to a hostile resolution passed Thursday by UNESCO that rejects the historic Jewish connection to the Holy City of Jerusalem.
The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) passed an absurd resolution, denying the ancient Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s holy sites.
The resolution, initiated by the Palestinians, states that the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site, where the First and Second Holy Temples stood – is holy to Muslims only.
The Temple Mount is Islam’s third-holiest site, second to Mecca and Medina. The resolution uses the Muslim name Haram al-Sharif, but not the Hebrew term, Har HaBayit.
It also refers to the Western Wall – the Kotel, in Hebrew – by the Arabic name, al-Buraq.
Ambassador Carmel Shama HaCohen, Israel’s permanent delegate to UNESCO, said that “Israel and the Jewish people do not require UNESCO’s or any other country’s confirmation of the special connection between the Jewish people and the State of Israel and Jerusalem in general, and the holy sites such as the Western Wall and the Temple Mount in particular.”
“There is no connection of another people to another place in the world that comes close to the strength and depth of our connection to Jerusalem from a religious, historical and national perspective, a connection that has stood the test of 2,000 years,” he said.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stated Thursday morning, just days before the holiday of Sukkot, which begins Sunday evening, that “there is no festival more connected to Jerusalem than Sukkot. The festivals of Israel all highlight the inextricable bond between our people and our land, and no forum of body in the world can come an deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem – and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself.”
“We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history,” Rivlin asserted.
“The UNESCO theater show goes on,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared. “Today that organization adopted another delusional decision stating that the Jewish People have no connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Even if they do not read the Bible, I would suggest that UNESCO members visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago. There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People and, I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today. Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda,” he quipped.
“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that the Chinese have no connection to the Great Wall of China and the Egyptians have no connection to the pyramids,” he added. “By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”
“I was outraged to hear of UNESCO’s vote today, which denies thousands of years of Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Western Wall,” Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stated. “Would UNESCO vote to deny the Christian connection to the Vatican? Or the Muslim connection to Mecca?”
According to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, the UN is “disconnected from reality and history,” and the resolution passed Thursday “is a message to inciters and rewriters of history working tirelessly out of hate.”
Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, Leader of the Opposition, concurred, stating that “whoever wants to rewrite history, to distort fact, and to completely invent the fantasy that the Western Wall and Temple Mount have no connection to the Jewish people, is telling a terrible lie that only serves to increase hatred.”
Twenty-four countries supported the resolution, six – the US, UK, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Estonia and Germany – voted against, and 26 abstained.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a pamphlet showing the historical Jewish connection to Jerusalem, which was distributed to all 120 permanent delegates of UNESCO representing countries that have diplomatic relations with Israel.
By: Atara Beck, World Israel News