Irina Bokova, chief of UNESCO, has been receiving “death threats” since she voiced opposition to Arabbacked resolutions ignoring Jewish ties to Jerusalem’s holy sites on Thursday, Agence France-Presse has reported.
The Israeli ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama Cohen, said “the director general has received death threats and her protection has had to be reinforced.”
Cohen also said that Bokova’s criticism of two resolutions that were adopted last week ahead of the final vote led to the threats.
Bokova said following the drafted resolutions, “Nowhere more than in Jerusalem do Jewish, Christian and Muslim heritage and traditions share space. 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 [in 1981].”
The draft decision by UNESCO
lists the item as "Occupied Palestine" and was submitted by seven Muslim nations.
The draft affirms the importance of the Old City of Jerusalem “for the three monotheistic religions,” but uses the Arabic terming Al-Aksa Mosque and Al-haram Al-Sharif while omitting the Hebrew terms for the Western Wall and the Temple Mount.
Israel’s Education Ministry decided on Friday to suspend cooperation with UNESCO stating that both the resolutions ignore “thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the head of Israel’s National Commission to UNESCO said that Bokova’s statement was not enough and added that votes such as the one taken on Thursday only encourage Palestinian terrorism against Israel.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this article.
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