UNESCO Votes to Erase History
“The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous,” Ps 125: 3
UNESCO RULES ANCIENT JEWISH SITES IN HEBRON TO BE INSCRIBED AS PALESTINIAN: For the first time ever the 21-member World Heritage committee inscribed a significant religious site – the Cave of the Patriarchs – to the State of Palestine. In a secret ballot vote on 7 July 2017, 12 countries approved the inscription of Hebron’s Old Town and the Cave, three objected and six abstained. PM Benjamin Netanyahu slammed the vote as another “delirious” act by UNESCO. “This time they determined that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is a Palestinian heritage site, meaning that it is not a Jewish site and that it is in danger. Not a Jewish site?” he asked. “After all who is buried there, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah, our patriarchs and matriarchs,” Netanyahu said. “The site is in danger? Only in places where Israel exists like in Hebron is freedom of worship guaranteed for all. Everywhere else in the Middle East mosques, churches and synagogues are being destroyed. We’ll continue to safeguard the Cave of the Patriarchs, freedom of religion and truth,” he said. Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon tweeted, “The UNESCO decision on Hebron & Tomb of Patriarchs is a moral blot. Shame on UNESCO.” (J.Post) The vote regarding the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, is an attempt to erase the Jewish connection to the resting place of its Biblical ancestors.
THE UNESCO HEBRON DECISION MATTERS TO ISRAEL AND THE WORLD: Now that the UN agency has decided that the Old Town of Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs are an endangered Palestinian heritage, the conflict takes a new and alarming turn. While the Palestinians have been thwarted on the ground in Judea & Samaria and Gaza to create a state or remove Israel’s presence from areas they claim, they have been winning in international forums like UNESCO. The Palestinian Authority successfully sought membership in UNESCO as a state in 2011, as part of a campaign to join numerous UN agencies. Since 2011, the Palestinians successfully obtained the Church of the Nativity and pilgrimage route in Bethlehem inscribed in 2012 and the “Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir” inscribed in 2014. UNESCO, which declared the Old City of Jerusalem and its walls a world heritage site in 1981 at the behest of Jordan, has frequently criticized and thwarted Israeli actions in Jerusalem.
On 4 July 2017, it labeled Israel an “occupying power” in Jerusalem and criticized archaeological excavations. Israel lost a vote in May 2017 at the UNESCO executive board that also negated Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem. This has been the routine for years. The Israel-Palestinian conflict playing out at UNESCO is not good news for archaeology or history. The concept of UNESCO was supposed to be a way for the world to acknowledge a list of sites, now numbering 1,052, that are of special cultural, historic, scientific or other significance. The sites would be protected, monitored and be a sort of “bucket list” of places in the world of supreme worth. Turning sites into part of a religious, ethnic or political conflict runs contrary to the purpose, but because of the way UNESCO is run, with countries represented and voting, the ability to prevent politicization is grueling. (J.Post)
ISRAEL TO CUT $1 MILLION FROM UN TO BUILD MUSEUM IN HEBRON: Israel plans to cut one million dollars from its funding to the United Nations so that it can build a museum in Hebron. PM Netanyahu decided to take that step after UNESCO on 7 July 2017, inscribed Hebron’s Old Town and the Cave of the Patriarchs to the State of Palestine on the World Heritage in Danger list. It will also spend the money on additional projects to strengthen Jewish ties to the Biblical city of Hebron and the adjoining settlement of Kiryat Arba. The UNESCO vote marks the first time that a Jewish religious site is registered to the State of Palestine. The Cave of the Patriarchs is the second holiest site in Judaism. After the vote, which took place in Krakow, Poland, Netanyahu stated: ”This is another delusional UNESCO decision.” (J.Post)
TRUMP HAILS SYRIA TRUCE BROKERED WITH RUSSIA: ISRAEL IS WARY: An open-ended cease-fire in southern Syria brokered by the United States and Russia came into effect over the weekend. The cease-fire, announced after a meeting between US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg last week, is the first initiative by the Trump administration in collaboration with Russia to bring some stability to war-torn Syria. No cease-fire has lasted long in the six-year-old Syrian conflict. US-backed rebels, Syrian government forces and ISIS terrorists are all fighting for control of southern Syria. The latest truce is intended to allay concerns of neighboring Israel and Jordan about Iranian-backed and government-allied forces at their borders. The truce does not include the ISIS group. Israel has said it would “welcome a genuine cease-fire” in southern Syria as long as it doesn’t enable a military presence for Iran and its proxies along Israel’s border. Israel has repeatedly said it will not allow Iran, which is a close ally of the Syrian government, to set up a permanent presence in Syria. It has carried out a number of airstrikes in Syria against suspected shipments of “game-changing” weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. Netanyahu said he conveyed his country’s concerns once again last week to both Putin and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Netanyahu says both said they understand Israel’s position and took it into account. (News 12) It is vitally important to continue to pray for Israel’s safety and preparedness in the event of dangerous developments or surprise attacks stemming from the Syrian crisis. Additionally, Iran could realize its aspirations to build a “resistance” front in the Golan Heights through the multiple Syrian Hezbollah groups that have arisen in the course of the civil war.
GERMAN INTEL REPORT CHARGES IRAN SEEKING ILLEGAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS TECHNOLOGY: With the ink barely dry on the deal between the US and Iran to prevent the Islamic Republic from securing nuclear weapons, a new German intelligence document charges that Iran continues to flout the agreement. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency said in its annual report that Iran has a “clandestine” effort to seek illicit nuclear technology and equipment from German companies “at what is, even by international standards, a quantitatively high level.” The findings were issued in a 317-page report last week. Germany’s federal domestic intelligence agency said in its report “The State of Israel, its representatives and supporters as well as members of the Jewish religious community are among the declared enemies of Iran. Even the agreement made between Iran and the Western world to settle the nuclear conflict has not changed this attitude. (Fox/J.Post)
200 TO IMMIGRATE TO ISRAEL FROM FRANCE THIS WEEK: The largest Aliyah flight from France and anywhere in Europe is set to land in Israel on 10 July 2017. 200 immigrants will be aboard the flight, including 74 children and teenagers under the age of 18. The French Jewish community is the largest in Europe and the second-largest in the world outside of Israel, numbering nearly half a million Jews. French Jewish immigration to Israel has surged since the year 2012. 2014 marked the first time in Israel’s history that over 1% of a Western Jewish community made Aliyah in a single year, an achievement repeated in 2015, with the arrival of some 7,800 immigrants from France – the most ever. Over 10% of the French Jewish community has immigrated to Israel since the year 2000, half in the past five years alone. (INN)
ISRAELI DOCTORAL STUDENT DEVELOPS GROUND BREAKING TEST FOR PARKINSON’S DISEASE: Suaad Abd-Elhadi, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, has won an innovation award for developing a new groundbreaking tool that could lead to earlier detection of Parkinson’s disease. Abd-Elhadi’s “lipid ELISA” test could also improve monitoring of the disease’s progression and a patient’s response to treatment. ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Abd-Elhadi received Hebrew University’s Kaye Innovation Award, which was established by British pharmaceutical industrialist Isaac Kaye in 1994. Parkinson’s is the second-leading degenerative disease among the elderly in the US, after Alzheimer’s. Using Abd-Elhadi’s diagnosis technique, Parkinson’s can be detected before symptoms start showing. “Earlier diagnosis can help by seeing how a given drug affects the progress of the disease,” Abd-Elhadi said. (Algemeiner)
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Blessings from Jerusalem,
Barry Segal with the Editorial Staff