Israel and Jewish groups are concerned by a draft resolution proposed by the EU at a session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Istanbul.
Israel and Jewish groups are concerned by a draft resolution proposed by the EU at a session of UNESCO's World Heritage Committee in Istanbul which denies the connection of the Jewish people to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The World Heritage Committee is holding its 40th session in the Turkish city from 10-20 July.
The EU has proposed the text as an alternative to a draft resolution proposed by the Palestinians and Jordan which referred ten times to Al-Haram Al-Sharif, the Islamic term for Temple Mount, without mentioning that it has been the holiest site in Judaism for thousands of years. In this draft, the Western Wall, the world’s most significant Jewish prayer site, is also referred to by the Arabic term Buraq Plaza, while quotation marks pointedly accompany the words “Western Wall plaza.”
Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said it would be “crazy” for EU member states on the 21-member committee—Poland, Portugal, Croatia, and Finland—to agree to a text that is “denying Jewish Jerusalem” and Temple Mount, thereby “denying the roots of Christian Europe.”
"The EU proposal is a continuation of the attempts being made to negate the Jewish people’s deep historic and religious ties to the Temple Mount,” Nahshon said.
"There is no Christianity without Judaism and there is no Jesus without a Jewish Jerusalem and the Temple Mount," he added.
"This despite France’s apology and admission that it erred in supporting the April decision of UNESCO’s Executive Board that considered the Temple Mount to be a site holy only to Muslims."
After an outcry, several French leaders expressed regret over the French vote. President Hollande pledged to be “vigilant” in the next resolution, to affirm the shared significance of the holy sites. Brazil also expressed regret. Now is an opportunity for both countries, who exercise influence despite not being members of the committee, to play a positive role in Istanbul.
In April , only six members ( Estonia, Lithuania United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands and USA ) opposed the resolution and 18 abstained. The vote caused an angry reaction from the Israeli Prime Minister Benhjamin Netanyahu who reminded the committee about ”the unique connection between the Temple Mount, the site of two temples for 1,000 years, and the place to which Jews prayed for thousands of years.”
At the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, Arab states can expect immediate support from 11 of the 21 committee members. Six of them—Cuba, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon, Tunisia and Zimbabwe—are almost certain to back the Palestinians, while another five, the Philippines, Jamaica, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan, are likely to do the same.
On the other hand, it was hoped that Croatia, Finland, Poland, Portugal, South Korea and Tanzania would take a more balanced position, as possibly could Angola, Burkina Faso, Peru and Vietnam.
Jewish groups such as Crif, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the World Jewish Congress (WJC) welcomed UNESCO Director’s condemnation of attempts to deny Jewish connection to Jerusalem... Read more