View of Temple Mount
View of Temple MountMiriam Alster/ Flash 90

Science Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) on Sunday joined the condemnation of the UNESCO decision Saturday night, which declared the Temple Mount to be a Muslim site while failing to mention that it is the holiest site in Judaism.

In its decision, the UN body for world heritage and culture went along with the Palestinian Authority (PA) demand not to use the term "Temple Mount," but rather to refer to the site only as "Al-Aqsa Mosque," thereby divorcing the site from its historical roots as the location of the First and Second Temples.

In a sharp letter addressed to UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova, Akunis wrote, "I was sorry to read your decision according to which Jews have no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall."

"The very discussion on this matter is embarrassing and scandalous, but primarily it testifies to complete boorishness and a resounding lack of historical knowledge," he continued.

"Your decision will not change anything of course, and it has no meaning. I would propose that you visit Israel, the historical homeland of the Jewish nation, and stand up close to the connection of 3,000 years between the nation and its land, and the enormous achievements of the state of Israel in science, technology and ingenuity," added the minister.

Aside from the historical revisionism regarding the Temple Mount, UNESCO also referred to the Western Wall as the Al-Buraq Plaza, a name given to the site by the Arabs in the 1920s when they sought to ahistorically claim it.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu condemned the decision on Saturday night, saying, "the UN is rewriting a basic part of human history and has again proven that there is no low to which it will not stoop."

As noted the Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, but despite being liberated in the 1967 Six Day War, the Jordanian Waqf has been allowed to maintain de facto control of the site. Israeli police have kowtowed to the Waqf, banning Jews from praying at the site despite Israeli laws guaranteeing freedom of worship.