Netanyahu Summons UNESCO Ambassador for Consultations

Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Israel has registered a diplomatic protest by recalling its ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-HaCohen for consultations following a resolution that ignored the ancient Jewish connection to Yerushalayim.

After Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu rejected the UNESCO vote as a continuing “theater of the absurd,” his office issued a more nuanced statement, saying the vote was better than last year, even though the membership of the committee this year is “worse for Israel.” Out of 21 member states on the UN body’s Heritage Committee, 10 voted in favor of the resolution, two against and eight abstained.

“Israel thanks Croatia and Tunisia for requesting a vote on the coalition, and to all the countries that voted for Israel and did not support the distorted resolution,” the statement said.

Meanwhile on Wednesday, Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein appealed to the Pope to make common cause with Israel against UNESCO.

In a letter to Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin, Edelstein urged the Vatican to “use its best offices to prevent the recurrence of developments of this sort.

Edelstein described the resolution as “an assault on history and is deeply offensive to both Christianity and Judaism. The denial of the historicity of the two Jerusalem Temples and the Temple Mount…is a terrible indictment of the international community when repeatedly adopted by an important UN body.

“The outrageous repudiation of the millennia-old bond between Judaism and its holiest shrines in Jerusalem is a blatant attempt to rewrite history,” he added. “The annals of both our religions cannot be erased by raised hands and counted votes.”

He called upon the international community to issue a counter-resolution refuting the UNESCO outrage.