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UNESCO Delays Temple Mount Vote

Juan Pablo Rivera Garza, Braindeis Blog

July 12, 2016

On July 12th, UNESCO (The UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) delayed a vote on a draft resolution that would damage ties Israel and the Jewish people as a whole have with the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The Jordanian and Palestinian representatives in UNESCO proposed the draft resolution in an attempt to return the sites jurisdiction to Jordanian Waqf religious authority, which was the case directly after the 1967 Six Day War. The Waqf religious authority controls and regulates many Islamic sites, but the proposed resolution would take away any Israeli authority in the maintenance and regulation of two Jewish holy sites.

Although a similar resolution had been endorsed by the UNESCO executive board, the vote on this draft resolution was delayed due to a lack of support from other countries.

A day before the draft resolution was postponed Dore Gold, the director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, penned a powerful letter to the UNESCO committee that urged them to vote down the proposal. Stating forcefully,

“Again, UNESCO is considering the adoption of a completely one-sided draft resolution on the Old City of Jerusalem that deliberately ignores the historical connection between the Jewish people and their ancient capital, The resolution also fails to acknowledge Christianity’s ties to Jerusalem. It refers to the area of the Temple Mount only as a ‘Muslim holy site of worship’”

Clearly, this argument and many like it have given UNESCO committee members some pause, but the fight against this draft resolution and attempts to shrink Israel’s role in Jerusalem continue. As Mr. Gold put it,

“Today, it is Israel that defends religious freedom for all of the great faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—against the tide of intolerance sweeping the Middle East region.”

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