He­bron Re­sponds to UNESCO Vote

The Jewish Voice - - EDITORIAL -

Dear Editor:

At a gath­er­ing in Krakow, Poland, UNESCO, the UN agency tasked with des­ig­nat­ing world her­itage sites, voted to list the Tomb of Pa­tri­archs in He­bron as a World Her­itage Site in Dan­ger lo­cated in the “State of Pales­tine”. Clearly, this was yet an­other politi­cized, anti-Is­rael ma­neu­ver man­u­fac­tured by the Pales­tinian Au­thor­ity and its pur­pose is clear: to dele­git­imize the an­cient Jew­ish pres­ence in He­bron in par­tic­u­lar, and thereby, un­der­mine the his­tor­i­cal ties of Jew­ish peo­ple to the land of Is­rael in gen­eral.

The Cave of the Pa­tri­archs is a fun­da­men­tal pil­lar of Jew­ish history. The founders of the Abra­hamic faiths are buried there in­clud­ing "Ja­cob" who was the first “Is­rael”. The mon­u­men­tal struc­ture which was built atop the cave and still stands to­day, was con­structed by Jews 2,000 years ago. The Jew­ish com­mu­nity ex­isted there fif­teen hun­dred years be­fore the ad­vent of Is­lam. As op­posed to the pe­riod of the Is­lamic con­quest when Jews and non-Mus­lims were barred from the Tomb of the Pa­tri­archs, to­day, un­der Is­raeli sovereignty, there is free­dom of wor­ship, free­dom of ac­cess, and se­cu­rity, for all re­li­gions at the Tomb of the Pa­tri­archs.

In­deed, only to­day did He­bron Deputy Mayor Yousef al Jabari de­clare: "We will do every­thing we can [for] this place to re­main a pure mosque, and a mosque for Mus­lim wor­shipers only.” [Jerusalem Post, July 7, 2017]

We call upon the gov­ern­ment of Is­rael to is­sue an ap­pro­pri­ate an­swer to this rep­re­hen­si­ble de­ci­sion: to im­me­di­ately sus­pend all pay­ments to UNESCO and trans­fer those very same funds for projects that will strengthen Jew­ish He­bron. These in­clude the re­sump­tion of the Is­raeli Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion's trips for stu­dents to the Tomb of Pa­tri­archs and strength­en­ing of tourism in­fra­struc­ture to the site. Most im­por­tantly, noth­ing says that He­bron is Jew­ish more than Jew­ish peo­ple liv­ing n He­bron. There­fore, we call upon the rel­e­vant Is­raelis bu­reau­cra­cies to un­freeze Jew­ish build­ing in He­bron and en­hance Is­raeli pres­ence there.

We also call on the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity to rec­og­nize the ma­nip­u­la­tion to which bod­ies like UNESCO are be­ing sub­jected. We urge coun­tries to fol­low in the foot­steps of the United States and cut off fund­ing to the prej­u­diced and dis­cred­ited agency. Am­bas­sador Haley has em­phat­i­cally stated "that the United States is de­ter­mined to stand up to the UN's anti-Is­rael bias” and there­fore we also sug­gest that the US leave UNESCO com­pletely, and thus send the UN a clear mes­sage that such bla­tant fake-history and anti-Is­raelism will not be tol­er­ated.

Sin­cerely Yishai Fleisher Int’l Spokesman for the He­bron Jew­ish Com­mu­nity

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