Jewish House Lawmakers Agree: UNESCO Temple Mount charges against Israel are lies

All 18 Jewish Democrats and one Jewish Republican in the US House of Representatives signed a statement criticism the UN's cultural arm.

October 22, 2015 05:23
2 minute read.

The full moon rises behind the US Capitol Dome in Washington . (photo credit: REUTERS)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

WASHINGTON - All 19 Jewish House lawmakers slammed UNESCO for its vote charging Israel with changing the status quo at Jerusalem's Temple Mount.

“The continued false allegations against Israel as having violated the status quo at the Temple Mount, which is under the custodianship of Jordan and the Wakf Muslim religious trust, and blaming Israel for the surge in violent attacks, must be condemned,” said the statement Wednesday signed by the 18 Jewish Democrats and one Jewish Republican in the US House of Representatives.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.

UNESCO, the United Nations’ cultural arm, on Wednesday approved a resolution saying that Israel is altering the status quo on the Temple Mount, also known as Haram al Sharif, which is holy to Muslims and Jews.

The “status quo,” in place since Israel captured the site in the 1967 Six-Day War, bans Jews from worship on the mount, but allows them to visit. Jews may pray at the adjacent Western Wall.
UN video message to Israel, Palestinians

In recent weeks, violence has increased as reports circulated among Palestinians that Israel was set to allow Jewish worship on the mount, and even remove its mosques — charges that Israeli leaders vehemently deny.

“Such accusations have been perpetrated by the Palestinian leadership to incite continued violence, and the resulting attacks targeting Israeli civilians in recent weeks are an outrage,” the lawmakers’ statement said. “There is zero justification for such acts of terrorism, and the world cannot remain silent and certainly must not take actions that could add to the false and inflammatory incitement of violence.”

The statement notably united Jewish lawmakers on both sides of the bitter fight over the summer over the Iran nuclear deal. It included lawmakers with close ties to right-wing pro-Israel groups like Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) and Eliot Engel (D-NY), and those who have openly criticized Israel in recent years and are close to J Street, the liberal Jewish Middle East lobby, like Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill), and John Yarmuth (D-Ky)

UNESCO’s executive committee voted 26-6 on the resolution advanced by six Arab countries, with 25 abstentions, on behalf of the Palestinians. The United States led the dissenters. A proposal to label the Western Wall as a Muslim holy site was removed prior to the vote, which also designated Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron as Muslim sites to be part of a Palestinian state. Both sites are also holy to Jews.

“As Jewish Members of the United States House of Representatives, we believe strongly in respecting the religious history and protecting the religious freedoms of Muslims, Jews, and Christians,” the statement said.

“That means respecting the claims of both Jews and Muslims to holy sites which have significance for both religions,” it said. “Designating Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs as exclusively Muslim sites is dismissive of other religious traditions, and the continued refusal to show any respect or recognition for the legitimacy of Jewish existence in the ancient Jewish homeland once again demonstrates a central obstacle to peace between Israelis and Palestinians.”

Related Content

August 14, 2018
White powder sent in letters to Israel Embassy in Berlin and others