Israel was elected a member of UNESCO's 21-member World Heritage Committee Monday, a further sign of Israel's growing acceptance inside the United Nations.
The purpose of this body is to work for the conservation of natural and cultural heritage sites around the world. The committee also places various sites around the globe on the World Heritage list, a classification worth millions of dollars in tourist revenue.
Architect and urban design specialist Michael Turner, currently the honorary chairperson of the Israel World Heritage Committee, will represent Israel on the body. Israel's appointment is for two years.
Ronny Leshno Yaar, the ministry's deputy director-general for the UN and international organizations, said the election of Israel to this body the most prestigious forum inside UNESCO is another step towards the normalization of Israel's status inside the world body, and represents the increasing involvement of Israel in non-political UN activities.
Israel's election to this body follows the appointment earlier this year of Meir Itzchaki, an Israeli diplomat, as deputy chair of the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC), and of ambassador Dan Gillerman as one of 21 vice presidents of the General Assembly.
In addition, last month Israel proposed its first-ever General Assembly resolution and announced its candidacy for a seat on the Security Council in 2019 both firsts.