In yet another outrageous decision that comes as no surprise to those familiar with the workings of the United Nations, UNESCO the international body’s premier cultural agency passed a resolution on Tuesday indicating that Israel has no legal or historical rights anywhere in Jerusalem.
Luminaries of ethical behavior and historical accuracy such as Egypt, Lebanon, Qatar and Sudan exploited the automatic anti-Israel majority in the 58-member body to pass the resolution on “Occupied Palestine.”
Adding insult to injury, the resolution was passed as millions of Israelis celebrated the 69th anniversary of the Jewish state’s independence. But, of course, that was the whole point – what better way to hurt Israel than to pass a resolution denying the Jewish state’s claims to its capital city on the day that commemorates the Jewish people’s return to political sovereignty after nearly two millennia of exile from its historical homeland and its spiritual center?
The Jews’ right to rule in Jerusalem is undeniable. Never before have the religious freedoms of all religions been so meticulously guarded in Jerusalem. Muslim, Christians and Jews, as well as other religions, have access to the holy sites in this holy city. Jordan denied Jews access during the time it controlled the Old City. Under the British Mandate, Muslim extremists intimidated Jews and effectively prevented them from praying freely. The situation was similar during the Ottoman rule. But under Israeli rule, law and order are maintained and religious rights for all are respected.
Jerusalem’s centrality in Judaism is undeniable. The city is mentioned more than 800 times in the Bible. Jews throughout the ages turn toward Jerusalem when they pray. Hope of returning to a rebuilt Jerusalem is an integral part of Jewish liturgy and practice. Jerusalem’s rise and fall followed the waxing and waning of the Jews’ connection with the Land of Israel. The city’s destruction marked the demise of Jewish sovereignty and the remarkable resurgence of the holy city, today, is a reflection of the Jews’ renewed political, cultural and social vibrancy.
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