UNESCO chief: ‘Temple Mount is holiest place in Judaism’

The UNESCO’s Director General reaffirmed that “to deny, conceal, or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”

Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Irina Bokova acknowledged the utmost importance of Jerusalem’s Temple Mount to the Jewish people, while addressing the 15th plenary assembly of the World Jewish Congress on Monday. 

“The Al Aqsa Mosque / Al-Haram al-Sharif, the sacred shrine of the Muslims, is also the Har Habayit – or Temple Mount – the holiest place in Judaism, whose Western Wall is revered by millions across the world, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulchre and the Mount of Olives holy to the Christians,” Bokova noted.

Bokova also stressed a need to protect the recognition of Jerusalem’s importance to all three monotheistic religions. 

“To deny, conceal, or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list,” Bokova added.

“The outstanding universal value of Jerusalem, and the reason why it was inscribed on the World Heritage list, lies in this synthesis, which is an appeal for dialogue not confrontation.”

Bokova reaffirmed Jerusalem’s connection to the Jewish people several weeks earlier, while addressing the European Jewish Policy Conference. 

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“The protection of the heritage of Jerusalem is part of a broader vision for peace and the fight against all forms of denial of Jewish history, delegitimization of Israel and anti-Semitism,” she reportedly said.

Bokova is also on record for opposing at least the first of two resolutions passed by UNESCO members, both of which avoided explicitly mentioning the Temple Mount and Western Wall Plaza, despite referring to the Islamic names of the two sites. Subsequently, Bokova received a number of death threats

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News