Netanyahu Thanks Italian Leader for Change of Heart on UNESCO Measure

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) greeting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Knesset during a special session in his honor on Wednesday. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R) greeting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in the Knesset during a special session in his honor. (Hadas Parush/Flash90, File)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Motzoei Shabbos thanked Italian Prime Minister Mateo Renzi for his comments denigrating the UNESCO resolution that claimed that there is no historical connection between the Jewish people and Har HaBayis. The resolution was “a mistake,” and it was a mistake for his country to fail to vote against it, he said.

“I think this is a mistaken, inconceivable resolution,” Renzi said Friday. “It is not possible to continue with these resolutions at the U.N. and UNESCO that aim to attack Israel. It is shocking and I have ordered that we stop taking this position [of abstention] even if it means diverging from the position taken by the rest of Europe.”

Speaking to Netanyahu by phone, Renzi said “to say that there is no connection between the Jewish people and Jerusalem is like saying that the sun causes darkness.” Nations have a right to criticize Israel for policies they disagree with, he added, “but they should not use UNESCO to do so.”

In a statement, Netanyahu’s office said that the Italian Prime Minister “understands the significance of historic truth and the attempt that has been made to erase a part of the history of Judaism and Christianity in Jerusalem.”

In recent days, both Mexico, which abstained, and Brazil, which voted in favor, have backed away from the resolution, and have either issued statements condemning it or retracting it.