(JNS.org) UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova criticized a resolution passed by her organization’s executive board Thursday that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
“Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam,” Bokova said Friday. “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 [in 1981],” she said.
On Thursday, UNESCO’s executive board, comprising 58 member states, passed a resolution 24-6 with 26 abstentions that ignored Jewish ties to the Temple Mount and Western Wall. The board solely referred to the holy sites by their Muslim names, while also labeling Israel as a “occupying power” and for its “aggressions and illegal measures” at Temple Mount.
Despite her position, Bokova, who has spoken out against other similar resolutions denying Jewish ties to the Jerusalem holy sites, ultimately she has no power to defeat the resolution.
Bokova called Jerusalem a “microcosm of humanity’s spiritual diversity,” a place where “different peoples worship the same places, sometimes under different names.”
“The recognition, use of and respect for these names is paramount,” she said. “The Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram al-Sharif (the sacred shrine of Muslims) is also the Har HaBayit – or Temple Mount – whose Western Wall is the holiest place in Judaism, a few steps away from the Saint Sepulcher and the Mount of Olives trees revered by Christians.”