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UNESCO Vote Leads to Funding for Hebron

Jewish leaders worldwide condemn politicizing United Nations, show support for Hebron.

9.7.17, 15:27
(PHOTO: Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu reads from the Bible in protest to the UNESCO decision.)
 
Backlash against the UNESCO vote to inscribe the Tomb of Machpela as a World Heritage Site in Danger listed as being in the State of Palestine has resulted in an outpouring of support from Israeli elected officials and Jewish organizations around the world.

On Friday, the day of the vote, the office of Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu announced the following:

"Following the resolution passed by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Friday, 7 July 2017), decided to cut an additional $1 million from the membership funds that Israel pays to the UN and to transfer it to the establishment of “The Museum of the Heritage of the Jewish People in Kiryat Arba and Hebron” and to additional heritage projects related to Hebron. Against UNESCO’s denial of the past, Prime Minister Netanyahu is determined to present to the entire world the historic truth and the Jewish People’s deep connection – of thousands of years – to Hebron."
 


The vote was held by a secret ballot at the World Heritage Site committee meeting of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization held last week in Krakow, Poland. Out of a total of 21 countries on the committee, 12 countries voted for the Palestinian Authority measure, three countries voted against it, and 6 abstained. 

On Sunday Prime Minister Netanyahu again voted his protest at the weekly cabinet meeting by donning a kippah and reading from the Torah. Quoting the Biblical book of Genesis, he read the chapter in which Abraham purchases the Cave of Patriarchs, the very location that the PA has claimed victory over, and vowed to make it a Muslim-only site.

"The connection between the Jewish People and Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs is one of purchase and of history which may be without parallel in the history of peoples. Of course this did not prevent the UNESCO World Heritage Committee last Friday from passing yet another delusional resolution which determined that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is a Palestinian heritage site." he added.

The UNESCO vote follows a similar one the same week denying the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. 

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee posted in Twitter, "UNESCO's second anti-Israel resolution in less than a week."

Ronald S. Lauder President of the World Jewish Congress stated, "The UNESCO World Heritage Committee’s decision to deem the Old City of Hebron a ‘site in danger’ is the latest Palestinian attempt to exploit the UN for political manipulation, and it demonstrates a severe abuse of the emergency mechanism."

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League stated, "UNESCO unfortunately succumbed to the manipulations of the Palestinian Authority to politicize holy sites. The international community should be aware that efforts such as the Palestinian campaign to claim holy sites through UNESCO, not only undermines efforts to build Israeli-Palestinian trust, but reinforces the perception among Israelis and Jews around the world that the Palestinians do not recognize the Jewish connection to Israel and are not serious partners to peace."

Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid calling the vote "a despicable falsification of history, at best stemming from utter ignorance and at worst from hypocrisy and anti-Semitism."

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin stated: "once again proves this is a body determined to continue spreading anti-Jewish lies, while at the same time sticking to its silence while the regional heritage is being erased by brutal extremists. 

Emmanuel Nachshon of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, "This irrelevant organization is promoting fake history. Shame on UNESCO."

Israel's Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon called the vote "a disgraceful decision that destroys any shred of credibility UNESCO had left. This grave attempt to cut the ties between Israel and Hebron and the graves of the fathers and mothers of our people is an ugly move, which is offensive to the Jewish people."

Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman called it, "a politically biased, disgraceful and anti-Semitic organization, which passes outrageous decisions. No resolution from this irrelevant organization can hurt our thousands of years old historical right over the Cave of the Patriarchs, or our right over Israel. This decision also proves, once more, that the Palestinian Authority is not looking for peace, but rather to incitement against and besmirching of Israel in the world."

Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated, "Jewish ties to Hebron are stronger than the disgraceful UNESCO vote. UNESCO, time after time, denies history and distorts reality to serve—knowingly—those who try to erase the Jewish state off the map. Israel will not resume cooperation with UNESCO as long as the organization is being used as a tool for political ends rather than a professional body."

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said it "is another stain on the international organization and on each of the countries that voted in favor of it. The Cave of the Patriarchs and Hebron are not just Jewish heritage sites, but also sites over which the people of Israel have a historical, possessory and legal right, based to international law as well."

Tourism Minister Yariv Levin stated, "the hypocrites and history deniers sitting in UNESCO had decided this time to erase Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, from history. Just as one cannot erase the Bible and all that had taken place in the Cave of the Patriarchs, our historical and eternal right over the Land of Israel and specifically over Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs cannot be erased either."

Minister of Science, Technology and Space Ofir Akunis stated, "This embarrassing decision has no significance, and no lie could change the 4,000 years long connection between the Jewish people and Hebron and Jerusalem, or our right over our country."

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said, "When no one remembers what UNESCO was anymore, Jerusalem will still be Israel's eternal capital."

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan stated, "there is no end to hypocrisy. The Palestinians continue their campaign of incitement and lies using UNESCO... while ISIS is destroying heritage sites in Aleppo, Palmyra, Mosul and elsewhere, UNESCO chooses to focus on Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs that never were and will never be in danger for as long as the State of Israel exists. You can't rewrite or erase history. Abraham paid for the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in full and it has always been our forefathers' place of burial."

Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely called it "a badge of shame for UNESCO, which time after time chooses to stand on the side of lies. Israel will not surrender to historic distortion and will continue the fight against the bias of UN institutions." MK Hotovely met with foreign ambassador last week to explain to them the rich Jewish history of the city.

Deputy Minister of Defense Eli Ben-Dahan stated "fortunately, the majority of the world, including the Muslim world, understands one cannot just erase the rich past of a people and a nation and replace it with made-up and rewritten history of a made-up Palestinian people." Several months ago, Ben-Dahan blasted the election of a convicted terrorist as the PA's mayor of their section of the city. The mayor, Tayseer Abu Sneineh, was present at the UNESCO vote to accept the new designation, a fact lampooned by Carmel Shama-Hacohen, Israel's ambassador to UNESCO.
 
The countries that comprise the World Heritage Site committee for this year includes five nations which Israel has no diplomatic ties with, and a number that regularly support anti-Israel resolutions. The 21 member states are Angola, Azerbaijan, Burkina Faso, Croatia, Cuba, Finland, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, South Korea, Tunisia, Turkey, Tanzania, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
 
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