Israel has rejected a move by UNESCO, the international “cultural” organization tied to the United Nations, to redefine history and remove Jewish links to the Temple Mount, the likely site of the original Jewish temples during biblical times.
The Middle East democracy on Friday suspended cooperation with UNESCO over its vote – a preliminary vote on a resolution that was sponsored by Arab nations – to use only Muslim names for the Jerusalem hilltop, Fox News reported.
WND reported Thursday on UNESCO’s preliminary vote, 24-6 with 26 nations abstaining.
The plan, from seven Muslim nations, emphasizes Islam’s claims to the site but ignores the historical facts about Jewish presence there over the millennia.
The item was titled “Item 25: Occupied Palestine” and cites the Muslim “Al-Aqsa Mosque” and “Haram al-Sharif.
UNESCO said it “firmly deplores the continuous storming of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif by Israeli right-wing extremists and uniformed forces, and urges Israel, the occupying Power, to take necessary measures to prevent provocative abuses that violate the sanctity and integrity of Al-Aqṣa Mosque/Al-Ḥaram Al-Sharif.”
The Fox News report said the Arab move adopted in the U.N. organization was seen as just the latest evidence of anti-Semitism at the world body.
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett informed UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of Israel’s decision on Friday, Fox reported.
“Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization,” Bennett said.
East Jerusalem has been part of Israel since the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians want the city as part of a future state.
“Jews refer to the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. Muslims refer to it as the Noble Sanctuary, and it is home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia,” Fox reported.
Bokova sided with Israel on the issue, explaining in a prepared statement: “The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city. To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump blasted the anti-Israel sentiment that has been exposed both in the U.N. and at some levels in the U.S.
“I have said on numerous occasions that in a Trump administration, the United States will recognize Jerusalem as the one true capital of Israel,” he said. “The United Nations’ attempt to disconnect the state of Israel from Jerusalem is a one-sided attempt to ignore Israel’s 3,000-year bond to its capital city, and is further evidence of the enormous anti-Israel bias of the U.N.
“Jerusalem is the enduring capital of the Jewish people and the overwhelming majority of Congress has voted to recognize Jerusalem as just that,” Trump said. “Further, the decision by the Obama administration to strike the word ‘Israel’ after the word ‘Jerusalem’ in the president’s prepared text was a capitulation to Israel’s enemies, and a posthumous embarrassment to Shimon Peres, whose memory the President was attempting to honor. In a Trump Administration, Israel will have a true, loyal and lasting friend in the United States of America.”
When the vote first was reported Thursday, WND reported Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told JNS.org that the move “is ironic in the sense that the Israelis have probably done more than any other sovereign that has controlled Jerusalem to ensure that all faiths can have access to the city and practice their faith.”
The resolution also blasts Israeli’s interference with the Waqf, the Jordanian body that administers the Muslim sites. The resolution makes no mention that the Muslim sites in question were built on top of the remains of the Jewish “Great Temple” several hundred years after its destruction by the Romans in the year A.D. 70.
The seven sponsors of the resolution are Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morrocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan. They introduced it on behalf of the Palestinians.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement on Facebook Thursday which he titled “The theatre of the absurd continues at the UN.” The statement reads:
“Today UNESCO adopted its second decision this year denying the Jewish people’s connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site for over three thousand years.
“What’s next? A UNESCO decision denying the connection between peanut butter and jelly? Batman and Robin? Rock and roll?
“Is it any wonder the UN has become a moral farce when UNESCO, the UN body tasked with preserving history, denies and distorts history?”
A senior U.S. administration official also told the Jerusalem Post on Thursday, “One-sided, unhelpful resolutions have been a recurring challenge at UNESCO in recent years, and the United States has strongly opposed these resolutions at the UNESCO Executive Board.”
UNESCO’s drive to rewrite the history of the Temple Mount in Islam’s image began shortly after it accepted the Palestinians as a member state in 2011. There initially were attempts to have it declared a solely Muslim site, which failed. Since then, resolutions regarding Jerusalem repeatedly have used only the Muslim terms for the Temple Mount area and its adjacent wall, according to the Post.
Carl Gallups, a Christian pastor in Florida and author of the newly released “When the Lion Roars: Understanding the Implications of Ancient Prophecies for Our Time,” said the hatred of Israel is a sign of the end times.
“The Word of God has much to say about the abject hatred of the revenant nation of Israel in the last days. It also speaks of Jerusalem ultimately being surrounded by enemies and, at least, the temple area – being trampled upon by ‘Gentiles,'” he said.
“To Satan, it is not enough that an ultimate symbol of an ‘abomination that causes desolation’ (The Dome of the Rock) is sitting upon the Temple mount — but now, apparently he is indwelling an organization that fancies itself to be the head of a rising ‘one world order,’ and attempting to assassinate historical truth in the furthered cause of alienating Israel in the last days.”