Israel to leave UNESCO

Netanyahu instructs UNESCO ambassador to hand in letter announcing Israel's intention to withdraw from UN’s cultural body.

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Elad Benari, Canada,

UNESCO headquarters in Paris
UNESCO headquarters in Paris

Israel will leave the UN’s cultural body, UNESCO, it was announced Friday.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed Israel's ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, to officially submit a letter to UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay, announcing Israel’s withdrawal from the body.

The letter will be submitted in the coming days and Israel’s withdrawal will go into effect at the end of 2018, according to the organization’s rules.

The decision follows Thursday’s vote at the UN General Assembly in which 128 countries voted to reject U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Israel’s move comes several months after the U.S. State Department declared that the U.S. would be leaving UNESCO by 2019 due to its anti-Israel bias.

Earlier this year, UNESCO declared the ancient city of Hevron, King David’s first capital and home to the tomb of the biblical patriarchs, an endangered Palestinian heritage site.

Last year, UNESCO passed resolutions declaring that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, and described the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem as Muslim holy sites.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)