JERUSALEM, Israel – Unable to garner enough support to pass another resolution intended to disenfranchise the Jewish – and by association Christian – connection to the Temple Mount, UNESCO delayed Tuesday's vote.
Jordan and "Palestine" co-sponsored the resolution presented to UNESCO's 21 World Heritage Committee members, who are meeting in Istanbul July 10-20.
The resolution calls to maintain the Temple Mount, declared a world heritage site in 1981, as endangered.
Last April, UNESCO's 58-member executive board adopted a resolution criticizing the Israeli government's role in Jerusalem's eastern sector and referring to the Temple Mount and Western Wall by their Islamic names.
The latest resolution is another attempt to sever Israel's biblical and historical ties with one of Judaism's holiest sites where the first and second Jewish Temples stood.
Unlike the run-up to the April vote, Israel has launched an offensive ahead of the vote to try to persuade members to vote against the resolution.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold sent a letter to 16 director generals of foreign ministries of members in the UNESCO heritage committee. He said the group is "disconnected from reality."
Gold said the draft resolution is "one-sided" and "deliberately ignores the historical connection between the Jewish people and their ancient capital."
"The resolution also fails to acknowledge Christianity's ties to Jerusalem," he wrote and refers to the Temple Mount only as a "Muslim holy site of worship."
Gold said that in the face of "intolerance" sweeping the region, it's Israel that's defending the rights of Jews, Christians and Muslims. He added that it's under Israel that various Christian denominations have agreed to renovate the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (repairs the Christians denominations could not agree on for 200 years).
"As the historical heritage sites of this area are being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, such as the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, UNESCO's adoption of utterly false allegations about Israeli archaeological practices is misplaced and hypocritical at best," Gold wrote.
"We urge you to oppose this effort to distort history, which will offend the members of the Jewish and Christian faiths and undermine the credibility of UNESCO in the future," Gold concluded.