TEL AVIV – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lambasted a UNESCO resolution that ignores any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.
“This is yet another absurd UN decision,” Netanyahu said Saturday.
UNESCO ignores the unique historic connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount, where the two temples stood for a thousand years and to which every Jew in the world has prayed for thousands of years. The UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop.
The resolution, which refers to Israel exclusively as the “occupying power,” accuses the country of “planting Jewish fake graves in other spaces of the Muslim cemeteries” and “the continued conversion of many Islamic and Byzantine remains into the so-called Jewish ritual baths or into Jewish prayer places.”
The text only referred to the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and the location of both Temples – by the Arabic names al-Aqsa Mosque/al-Haram al-Sharif, and the Western Wall Plaza as Al-Buraq Plaza.
Jewish visitors are allowed to ascend to the Mount, which Muslims view as their third holiest, but are forbidden from worshiping – or even mumbling, which can be seen as a provocation – while there. It has been a flashpoint for Palestinian terrorism over the past six months.
The resolution, which included a condemnation of Israel’s blockade of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip, was approved by 33 states, including France, Russia, Spain, and Sweden. Seventeen countries abstained while six voted against, including the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.
Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid wrote a scathing letter to UNESCO calling the decision “a disgraceful attempt to rewrite history and rewrite reality as part of a sustained political campaign against the State of Israel and the Jewish people.”
“UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, yet it passes resolutions which erase the Jewish people from the historical narrative. This latest one-sided resolution is a stain on the United Nations,” Lapid continued.
“As we have seen with the United Nations Human Rights Council, this campaign not only strips away the ability of UN agencies to fulfill their goals but makes them a tool of modern anti-Semitism,” he said.