Thursday, 13 October 2016
Fury as Unesco denies Jewish connection to Judaism’s holiest sites
By Daniel Sugarman, October 13, 2016
The Western Wall, with the Temple Mount behind (Credit: Flickr/Desired)
A Unesco resolution denying the historic connection of the Jewish people to Temple Mount has drawn harsh criticism from Israelis on Thursday.
Although the resolution acknowledges the importance of Jerusalem to Judaism, Christianity and Islam, a specific portion referring to the Temple Mount only discusses its importance to Muslims, and not to Jews.
The site is named only by its Arabic name, Haram al-Sharif, rather than in Hebrew or English.
The Western Wall plaza is initially only given its Islamic name, al-Buraq plaza. The site’s Hebrew name, Hakotel Hama'aravi, is only mentioned later, in quotation marks.
Twenty-four nations voted for the resolution, 26 nations abstained and two were completely absent, while six – the United States, Great Britain, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Germany and Estonia – voted against.
MK Isaac Herzog, the Leader of Israel’s Opposition, said: "Unesco betray their mission, and give a bad name to diplomacy and the international institutions.
“Whoever wants to rewrite history, to distort facts, 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."
Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel, said: “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.
“We can understand criticism, but you cannot change history."
Speaking in a House of Lords debate on Israel on Thursday afternoon, Lord Rabbi Sacks described the Unesco vote as "an outrage, and will achieve nothing but to further damage trust and set back prospects for peace."