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'Egregious and Sinister.' UNESCO Says Temple Mount Not Jewish

Dome of the Rock, Courtesy TPS

JERUSALEM, Israel – A day after the United Nations marked Yom Kippur as an official holiday, the U.N.'s educational, scientific and cultural organization voted for a resolution that claims Judaism's most holy sites aren't Jewish at all.

In a vote of 24 in favor, 6 against and 26 abstaining, UNESCO gave preliminary approval to a resolution ignoring the Jewish connection to Jerusalem's Temple Mount and Western Wall.

"This is at the core of Jewish and Christian history and yet there's this systematic attempt to airbrush the history out of the picture," CBN News Senior Editor John Waage said.

Students of the Bible know that the Temple Mount has been the focal point of Jewish and Christian history for thousands of years. It's where Abraham prepared to sacrifice Isaac and where Solomon built a temple according to the Lord's direction. But this Palestinian-sponsored resolution refers to the Temple Mount and Western Wall almost exclusively by their Muslim names.

On his Facebook and YouTube pages, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, "The UNESCO theater of the absurd continues."

"Even if they do not read the Bible, I would suggest that UNESCO members visit the Arch of Titus in Rome. On it one can see what the Romans brought back to Rome after they destroyed and looted the Second Temple on the Temple Mount 2,000 years ago," Netanyahu said. "There, engraved on the Arch of Titus, is the seven-branched menorah that is the symbol of the Jewish People and, I remind you, is also the symbol of the Jewish state today. Soon, UNESCO will say that the Emperor Titus engaged in Zionist propaganda."

Netanyahu said this decision would be like saying China wasn't connected to the Great Wall or Egypt to the Pyramids.

"But I believe that historical truth is stronger and that truth will prevail. And today we are dealing with the truth," he concluded.

Israel's Education Minister Naftali Bennett announced a freeze in Israeli relations with UNESCO, which will put a stop to all meetings with UNESCO officials, international conferences and other professional cooperation.

According to The Jerusalem Post, Bennett sent a letter to the U.N. agency, telling them "Your decision denies history and encourages terror."  He continued, "Those who give prizes to supporters of jihad in Jerusalem the same week that two Jews are murdered in the city could, God forbid, encourage more victims."

The Foreign Ministry posted a spoof on its Facebook page with a man reading what they called a "UNESCO Bible." The graphic shows the Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif in place of the Temple in passages in both the Old and New Testaments.

Waage said the Temple Mount is really ground zero for the Jewish and Christian faiths.

"It's also the place where David was made king of Jerusalem, of Israel and where Jesus overturned the money changers booths at the Temple and also where Satan tempted Jesus," Waage said.

The U.S. joined Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Lithuania and Estonia in voting against the resolution.

The Zionist Organization of America condemned the resolution calling the move an attemp at "airbrushing from history Judaism and the Jewish people’s historic connection to Jerusalem’s Temple Mount". 

Morton Klein, President of the Zionist Organization of America, said UNESCO should "should cease and desist from tabling pernicious and absurd, flat-earth resolutions like this one, which not only bring it into disgrace and disrepute, but help fuel anti-Israel terror and jihad."

Senators Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., also called on the Obama administration to condemn the resolution's adoption.

"While the world's worst human rights violators are allowed to run amok in a human rights commission that's supposed to highlight abuses and stope them, anti-Semitic U.N. agencies continue to target the Middle East's only free market democracy," they wrote. "And now they shamefully attempt to rewrite history and deny Jewish and Christian people have any connection with Jerusalem.

"This is just another attempt in UNESCO's disturbing trend of attacking Israel and delegitimizing the Jewish state and does nothing to promote peace," they wrote.

The spokesman for the Palestinian presidency said the U.S. should review its policies toward Israel and Israel should recognize a Palestinian state with eastern Jerusalem as its capital with its Muslim and Christian holy sites.

Oddly enough there wouldn't be any Christian holy sites if there hadn't been Jewish ones there first.

"This is just one component of a larger Palestinian effort within the U.N. to delegitimize, to re-write history so that this becomes a justification for a Palestinian state, a Muslim presence on the Temple Mount, a capital in east Jerusalem all those things so they're working on all those things simultaneously," Waage said.

These aren't the first biblical sites UNESCO has deemed Muslim.

A year ago, Israel said UNESCO was helping Palestinians rewrite biblical history when it passed a resolution saying the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem were an integral part of Palestine. Earlier, they had claimed both sites as mosques.

A final vote on the resolution is scheduled for next week. But if more countries don't stand up for Israel and the Bible, it's set to pass.

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