The Israeli government is furious as the United Nations fails to mention any link between Judaism and its holy sites in Jerusalem. The UN is only referring to them by Palestinian names. UNESCO has renewed the resolutions that criticized Israel for restricting Muslim access to a site considered holy by both religions in Jerusalem’s Old City. The site is revered by Jews and Muslims. Known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the al-Aqsa compound or Haram al-Sharif (which is the Arabic translation for ‘Noble Sanctuary’) this has been a place on contention for decades.
The latest version of this resolution, posted on UNESCO’s website shows the site is repeatedly described only by its Muslim names – something Israel says amounts to a denial of its Jewish history.
The Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, is a remnant of the Second Jewish Temple that was built by Herod the Great and destroyed by the Roman Empire nearly 2,000 years ago and plays into revelations in the Bible.
The resolution, which is renewed periodically, condemns Israel and rebukes them for aggression by police and soldiers. The resolution was voted with 24 votes in favour, six against and 26 abstentions with two countries absent.
France, which is trying to bring the Israeli and Palestinians leaders back to the negotiating table was among the countries voting in favour of the resolution on a previous occasion. Paris abstained this time round. Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan all backed this resolution on behalf of the Palestinians. Despite passing with 24 in favor and six against, the 26 countries who abstained from the vote, are greater than those who supported it. The six countries voting against it were the U.S., Germany, U.K., Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia. Not a single European country voted in favor of the resolution.
Ironically Palestinian hadn’t even joined the international body until 2011.
39 U.S. lawmakers led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) wrote a letter to the UNESCO executive board asking them to vote against the resolution.
“UNESCO’s anti-Israel agenda has long been apparent and this latest lopsided vote in favor of this shameful resolution is no different,” stated Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “This resolution attacked the historical connection between Judaism and Jerusalem as part of a larger effort throughout the U.N. system to delegitimize the Jewish State with Jerusalem as its capital.”
“The Jewish history of Jerusalem is also Christian history, and the Jewish Temple was the scene of numerous New Testament stories,” she said. “Jesus visited the Temple in Jerusalem and the Christian scriptures record His teachings and miracles that occurred there. If the Christian world does not stand up for the Jewish connection to Jerusalem, then one day we will discover that our own historical and spiritual connection to the Holy Sites there has also been erased.”