(JNS.org) The United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution Wednesday that ignores Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Meeting in Paris, the World Heritage Committee passed the resolution titled “Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls” with 10 countries voting in favor, two opposing and eight abstaining. Only eight votes were needed for the resolution to pass.
It criticizes Israel’s actions around the Temple Mount, which it refers to solely by its Muslim names “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” and defines it only as “a Muslim holy site of worship.” The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism as the place of the First and Second Jewish Temples. The Second Temple also plays a significant role in Christianity and is mentioned in the New Testament.
The World Heritage Committee’s decision comes less than two weeks after the body’s 56-member Executive Committee passed a similar resolution also ignoring Jewish and Christian ties to the Temple Mount. That measure was adopted by a plurality (24 votes) and not a majority, as the largest number of countries (26) abstained from the vote after intense lobbying by Israel. Later, Brazil and Mexico voiced regret over their “yes” vote and Italy, which abstained, also said it should have voted “no.”
Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen called the resolution “absurd.”
“This is yet another absurd resolution against the state of Israel, the Jewish people and historical truth,” he said.
In a show of defiance, Shama-Hacohen threw a copy of the resolution in the trash.
“UNESCO's vote on Jerusalem is a piece of rubbish, rightly dumped in the garbage can by our Ambassador!! Long live Jewish Jerusalem!!!” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon wrote on Twitter.
Despite defeat, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office noted again that “fewer nations were in favor of the resolution this year. More nations moved this year from support to abstentions,” the statement said, pointing to the success of “intense efforts by the prime minister and the Foreign Ministry.”