CER conference
CER conferenceYoni Kempinski

The Conference of European Rabbis (CER) harshly criticized UNESCO Thursday for its decision three weeks ago to list the Cave of the Machpela in Hevron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem as Muslim sites.

The two sites between them house the graves of the Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs.

"The Conference of European Rabbis protests vehemently against UNESCO's decision to erase with a single, sad political stroke, the connection of the Jewish people – which is written in the Torah – to the Cave of Machpela and Rachel's Tomb, when Jews have prayed in these holy places for thousands of years.  

"This pathetic decision places a question mark over this organization's moral legitimacy," said CER President Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt.

CER wrapped up on Thursday its conference in Athens, with a memorial ceremony for the Greek-Jewish martyrs murdered in the Holocaust.

The ceremony was held at the Holocaust memorial in a small park overlooking the Keramikos archaeological site.

It was inaugurated in 2010 to honor the memory of 59,000 Greek Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during World War II. It is located next to the synagogue where the Nazis rounded up the Jews of Athens on Passover Eve 1944, under the guise of distributing Matzot.