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Material for canceled UNESCO Jewish exhibit

The United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will launch an exhibition entitled “People, Book, Land: The 3500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land  tomorrow at the organization headquarters in Paris.

The exhibition was originally scheduled to run last winter, but was cancelled in response to Arab pressure. UNESCO director-general Irina Bokova said at the time that the decision to censor the show “arose out of UNESCO’s support for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.”

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The show is curated by Hebrew University Professor Robert Wistrich, a leading international historian, the head of the Hebrew University Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism and the author of numerous award-winning books. It tells the history of the Jewish People in the Middle East, from the biblical patriarch Abraham to the present-day State of Israel.

According to a statement released today by Hebrew University, the main thrust of the show is cultural-historical, with a strong emphasis on the centrality of education, culture and science in the Jewish heritage – values which are part of UNESCO’s credo. It shows the uninterrupted presence of Jews in the land of Israel for nearly 3,500 years, and the fidelity of Jews to their original homeland through centuries of persecution both in Israel and abroad.

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