The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday adopted an anti-Israeli resolution ignoring the historic ties of Jews to the Temple Mount. 24 countries supported the resolution, which expresses doubt in Jewish ties to the Western Wall as well. Six countries voted against, 26 abstained and two were absent.
A senior foreign ministry told Haaretz that Israel’s diplomatic efforts have yielded a significant change in the way the European countries voted, with none of them supporting the resolution put forth by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, and Sudan, under PA pressure. This marks a significant change from the April vote when European countries, most notably France, supported a similar resolution. This time France, Sweden, Slovenia, Argentina, Togo and India abstained instead of voting in favor.
The countries that voted against the resolution Thursday were the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia.
The resolution, which condemns Israel for a basketful of violations in Jerusalem and the city’s holy sites, states that Jerusalem is sacred to Judaism, Islam and Christianity, but includes an item regarding the Temple Mount which only names it by its Arabic reference, Al Aqsa Mosque and Haram A-Sharif. The Western Wall Plaza is referred to as the Al Buraq Plaze, and its Hebrew name appears in quotation marks.
President Reuven Rivlin condemned the UNESCO vote questioning the historic connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount. Speaking on the eve of Sukkot, Rivlin said, “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 or body in the world can come and deny the connection between the Jewish people, the Land of Israel and Jerusalem – and any such body that does so simply embarrasses itself.” The President added, “We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history.”
Over the past few weeks, Israeli ambassadors to Western capitals as well as Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen have been blitzing their host governments with printed material issued by the foreign ministry proving through the myriad archeological finds the historic connection between the Jews and the Holy Land, Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The publication‘s cover is a picture of the Arch of Titus depicting Jewish captives carrying the Temple utensils to Rome.