Foreign Ministry apologizes to Italy

Israel's Foreign Ministry apologizes after Deputy Minister Ayoob Kara said an earthquake in Italy was punishment for UNESCO resolution.

Hezki Baruch ,

Ayoob Kara
Ayoob Kara
Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Israel's Foreign Ministry apologized on Saturday after Deputy Minister of Regional Cooperation Ayoob Kara (Likud) said an earthquake in Italy was punishment for the UNESCO resolution that ignored the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

Kara said during a visit to the Vatican on Wednesday he was sure the quake that hit central Italy the same day happened because of the resolution.

"We repudiate the remarks of Deputy Minister Kara," a Foreign Ministry spokesman said in a statement quoted by AFP on Saturday.

"Since making the statement, Deputy Minister Kara has issued an apology, which is also endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs," it said.

The condemnation of Kara's remarks came just hours before the start of an official visit to Israel by Italian President Sergio Mattarella.

On Wednesday, UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee passed a resolution denying the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

On October 13, the executive board of the UNESCO passed a similar resolution which refers to the Western Wall and the Temple Mount only by their Arabic-language names.

Israel recalled its ambassador to UNESCO for consultations on Wednesday over the issue.

It should be noted that Italy's Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, last week spoke out against the resolution, calling it "incomprehensible and unacceptable", and saying his officials should have voted against it instead of abstaining.