Israel suspends cooperation with UNESCO following Jerusalem resolution

Bennett officially suspends cooperation with UN organization; UNESCO director-general claims “heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible”

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Israel officially suspended cooperation with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday after the organization adopted a resolution that officially denies Jewish heritage and history to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Thursday.

Israel’s Education Minister and head of Israel’s National Commission for UNESCO Naftali Bennett notified UNESCO’s Director General Irina Bokova of the suspended cooperation, stating “Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization.”

Bennett’s suspension, alongside several efforts by Israeli officials, including a letter written by Israel’s former foreign minister Tzipi Livni to Bokoya, resulted in a response from the UNESCO head Saturday. Bokoya claimed that “The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city… To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list. When these divisions carry over into UNESCO, an organization dedicated to dialogue and peace, they prevent us from carrying out our mission.”