'The heritage of Jerusalem is indisputable'

UNESCO head reacted to Naftali Bennett's suspension of Israeli ties with UNESCO, after the latter's recent history-defying resolution.

Tags: Bennett UNESCO
Uzi Baruch ,

Irina Bokova
Irina Bokova

UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova reacted to the decision of Education Minister Naftali Bennett to suspend Israeli ties with UNESCO, after the organization passed a resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

In her letter, Bokova wrote that she believes in the 3,500 year-old connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, and promised to work against anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activism.

Bennett, who also serves as the president of Israel's National Commission for UNESCO, had announced a suspension of professional ties with UNESCO following its decision to pass a resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.

Bokova emphasized in her letter that she disagreed with the UNESCO decision, and emphasized her commitment, and that of UNESCO member states, “to work in ways that advance dialogue and peace.”

Bokova cited an exhibit called “People, Book, Land: 3,500 years of Connection between the Jewish People and the Holy Land,” which was organized with UNESCO cooperation and was exhibited throughout the world.

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indisputable, and each one of the communities has the right to the clear acknowledgement of history and its bond to the city,” she wrote, implicitly equating Jewish ties to Jerusalem with Christian and Muslim ones. “I have great faith that denying the Jewish, Christian or Muslim tradition subverts the unity of the site and damages the foundational principles which turned the site into a world heritage site of UNESCO.”

She added: “Let me promise you that I am completely committed to acting in a variety of ways against every form of anti-Semitism, including those forms that paint a partial or distorted picture of history and culture - like those which seek to subvert the existence of the State of Israel.”

The letter was sent within the context of Mexico’s recent cancellation of support for the resolution and the Italian PM’s promises that Italy will oppose similar resolutions in the future. However, Bennett received the letter just several days before a UNESCO revote on the Arab-advanced resolution - which passed for the second time, as well, due to the automatic anti-Israel majority in the plenum.