UNESCO head receives petition
UNESCO head receives petitionErez Lichtfeld

Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Hacohen, along with Shahar Azani, StandWithUs’ Northeast Executive Director and Yifa Segal, Director of the International Legal Forum (ILF) on Tuesday officially submitted a petition to UNESCO’s Director General, Irina Bokova.

The petition, which carries the signatures of over 76,000 concerned people that is representative of the opinions of millions of Jews, Christians and others, calls upon UNESCO to recognize the “irrefutably deep historic, cultural and religious connection between the Jewish people and the land of Israel.”

It comes in the wake of the recent resolution passed by UNESCO which ignores the Jewish and Christian connections to Jerusalem and refers to the holy sites in the city only by their Arabic names.

The UN cultural agency is planning this week to vote on another resolution on Jerusalem, which denies the connection between Judaism and the Temple Mount.

On Tuesday, a letter was also presented on behalf of StandWithUs’ founder and CEO, Roz Rothstein to UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova that expresses its deep appreciation for her “courageous stand against distorted versions of culture and history, as exemplified by the resolution currently under consideration.”

Bokova has spoken out against the passing of the anti-Israel resolution, and on Sunday she wrote to Education Minister Naftali Bennett that she believes in the 3,500 year-old connection of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, promising promised to work against anti-Semitic and anti-Israel activism.

“This petition is yet another manifestation of the deep bond between Jerusalem and the Jewish people,” Shama Hacohen said on Tuesday.

“The list of states and leaders expressing remorse for their past votes and object to the Arab proposals is getting longer and longer,” he continued. “Whomever thinks Italy’s Prime Minister was the last surprise in this regard for the Arabs, will find themselves surprised again and again. The petition presents a strong moral voice, much more than the immoral Arab proposal trying to erase 3000-year-old history with ignorance and insolence.

“Israel respects Muslims and other faiths and their presence in our holiest of places, and it is tragic that the other side doesn’t have a leadership which will do the same, but rather one which is engaged only in doing the exact opposite,” stressed Shama Hacohen. “This is no longer an Israeli-Palestinian struggle, but an Arab struggle against the entire Jewish world. It is clear that Israel and the Jewish people will survive this, yet it remains unclear whether UNESCO will.

“Israel would like to express its profound appreciation for the organizers of this proper and sound petition, who made their way here to send a clear message to the world: we shall all defend the Jewish connection with Jerusalem, no matter where we are around the world,” he concluded.

Azani added, “As an educational organization, the StandWithUs community deeply understands the importance of opposing well-orchestrated lies, especially when they are manufactured within the Educational arm of the international community. We will continue to be true to our mission that education is the only road to peace.”

Segal stressed that “this petition reflects the views of millions of people around the world, who are unwilling to accept destructive resolutions that attempt to rewrite history. Such resolutions are dangerous and undermine the very reasoning behind the existence of international organizations such as UNESCO”.