Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has invited all United Nations staff in Israel to attend a seminar on Jewish history, after a decision by a U.N. cultural body failed to acknowledge Jewish ties to Judaism’s holiest site.
In the decision last month, UNESCO condemned Israel for security restrictions and other measures at Har HaBayis. UNESCO referred to it only by its Arabic name.
“I was shocked to hear that UNESCO adopted a decision denying any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount, our holiest site,” Netanyahu said in a statement. “It is hard to believe that anyone, let alone an organization tasked with preserving history, could deny this link, which spans thousands of years.”
To counter what a member of Netanyahu’s staff called “this historical ignorance,” the prime minister, who is a keen historian, said he would host a special lecture on Jewish history for all U.N. personnel in Israel.
It was not immediately clear when the seminar would be held, but staff indicated it could be next week. It was also unclear how many U.N. staff members and diplomats planned to attend. UNESCO had no immediate comment.
UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, based in Paris, frequently issues decisions critical of Israel. Many are sponsored and seconded by Islamic states.