Pope Francis at the Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem during his May 2014 visit to Israel.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
UNESCO’s Standing Committee’s denial of the Old City of Jerusalem’s history is an affront to both Christianity and Judaism, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein wrote Wednesday in a letter to Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Cardinal Parolin.
Edelstein urged the Holy See to “use its best offices to prevent the recurrence of developments of this sort.
The resolution, the Speaker wrote, “is 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 as recounted in both the Old and New Testaments 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.”
Edelstein said the time has come for the international community to pass a resolution reaffirming Jerusalem as the holy city for the three major monotheistic religions, “a city where the two Temples stood and from which the Word of G-d was first promulgated to humanity by our prophets.”
Education Minister Naftali Bennett called UNESCO’s decision “a denial of history, and history will erase the embarrassing decision.
“One thing is permanent: Jerusalem is the capital of Israel forever. Therefore, my decision to suspend our activities with UNESCO stands. We will not cooperate with a body that denies the connection of the Jewish People with Jerusalem,” Bennett stated.
Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid called the UNESCO decision “absurd,” saying it “isn’t only anti-Israel, it’s also anti-history." Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Shuli Muallem-Refaeli said “Arabs in Israel and abroad have a glorious record of harming Jewish, Christian and Muslim holy sites. They also have an impressive record of rewriting history in a way that shames international institutions.”
If Arabs want to disconnect the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount and Israel, they should take it one step further, she added: “If we were never here and Jesus was a Palestinian, then I suggest that UNESCO condemn the Palestinians for crucifying Jesus.”