New head of UNESCO still un­de­cided

Jerusalem Post - - NEWS - • By TOVAH LAZAROFF

Ha­mad bin Ab­du­laziz al-Kawari of Qatar slightly strength­ened his lead dur­ing the sec­ond round of se­cret-bal­lot vot­ing in Paris on Tues­day to elect the next di­rec­tor-general of UNESCO.

He re­ceived 20 out of the 30 nec­es­sary votes to re­placed Irina Bokova, whose ten­ure ex­pires at the end of the year.

It’s one more nod of sup­port from the 58-mem­ber Ex­ec­u­tive Board than he re­ceived in the first round held Monday evening.

Jewish groups, in­clud­ing the Si­mon Wiesen­thal Cen­ter and the Anti-Defama­tion League have charged that Kawari is an­ti­semitic, while Is­rael has re­mained largely silent on the mat­ter.

The former Qatari cul­ture min­is­ter “has over­seen or en­dorsed projects that prop­a­gate base an­ti­semitic con­spir­acy the­o­ries,” the ADL said in a state­ment it re­leased on Monday after Kawari’s ini­tial suc­cess.

French-Jewish can­di­date Au­drey Azoulay held her own in sec­ond place with 13 votes, the ex­act same amount of sup­port she re­ceived on Monday night.

Egyp­tian hu­man rights ad­vo­cate Moushira Khat­tab re­mained in third place, but re­ceived one more vote than the pre­vi­ous night, bring­ing her tally up to 12.

Vera El Khoury La­coeuilhe of Le­banon lost a vote, low­er­ing her tally to five; Qian Tang of China re­ceived five votes both nights; and Pham Sanh Chau of Viet­nam gained one vote for a to­tal of three.

Po­lad Bul­bu­loglu of Azer­bai­jan with­drew from the race, drop­ping the num­ber of can­di­dates down to six.

A mis­un­der­stand­ing with re­gard to a mis­quote of Is­rael’s pub­lic state­ments on Khat­tab led to a phone call Tues­day be­tween For­eign Min­istry di­rec­tor-general Yu­val Rotem and Egypt’s Am­bas­sador to Is­rael Hazem Khairat.

Rotem as­sured Khairat that Is­rael’s am­bas­sador to UNESCO in Paris, Carmel Shama Ha­co­hen, had not said any­thing neg­a­tive about the Egyp­tian can­di­date.

The For­eign Min­istry also is­sued a warn­ing about the mis­quote.

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