Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO on Friday, a day after the U.N. cultural agency adopted a draft resolution that Israel says denies the Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem.
UNESCO’s draft resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, uses only the Islamic name for the Har Habayis -which includes the Kosel.
The validated resolution is expected early next week, but the wording is unlikely to change.
Israelis and many Jews around the world viewed it as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett informed UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova of Israel’s decision on Friday.
“Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization,” Bennett said.
“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” Bokova, the head of UNESCO, said in a statement.
“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.”
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s government welcomed the resolution, as did Hamas. A spokesman for Hamas, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction, called it a “step in the right direction.”
The dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest site ignited a wave of terror this time last year. Since then Palestinian terrorists have killed 36 Israelis and two visiting Americans, mainly in stabbings. About 220 Palestinian terrorists have been killed by Israeli fire.