Ten countries voted in favor of a UNESCO decision labeling Israel an "occupying power" in Jerusalem and criticizing archeological excavations in the city on Tuesday. Three countries voted against the motion, while eight others abstained.
Israeli leaders were quick to react, condemning the decision by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
“Nothing is more disgraceful than UNESCO declaring the world’s only Jewish state the ‘occupier’ of the Western Wall and Jerusalem’s Old City," said Israeli UN Ambassador Danny Danon, "No faux ‘heritage committee’ can sever the bonds between our people and Jerusalem.”
Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett stated that "UNESCO's repeated fake claims do not change the Jewish connection to Jerusalem or reality on the ground."
Also serving as the head of the Israeli UNESCO Committee, Bennett refereed to an earlier decision he made to cut Israel's professional ties to UNESCO and to maintain just diplomatic relations.
"Instead of protecting hundreds of sites destroyed by radical Islam," said Bennett, "including the al-Nuri mosque in Mosul, UNESCO is acting against the only middle-eastern country safeguarding all holy sites and granting worshipers religious freedom."
The Islamic State blew up the 12 Century al-Nuri mosque in October during the still ongoing battle of Mosul.