JERUSALEM, Israel – Maybe the thousands of Israelis who walked the streets of Jerusalem’s Old City Tuesday evening didn’t get the memo – UNESCO’s latest resolution declaring Jews imposters – occupiers of the Old City – who don’t belong there.
Over the past several years, UNESCO has declared Jerusalem “holy to Islam” and the “cultural heritage of Palestine,” while relegating Israel to the city’s “occupying power.” Its resolutions have condemned Israeli sovereignty over east Jerusalem neighborhoods, defined as anything outside the pre-1967 armistice lines, which can be north, south or west as well.
They’ve described Jewish holy sites, such as the Temple Mount and Western Wall, as “so-called,” and ancient Jewish graves near the Temple Mount as “fake,” referring to the site by its Islamic name – al-Aksa Mosque or al-Haram al Sharif.
In October 2015, UNESCO declared Rachel’s Tomb near Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron as Islamic holy sites. That resolution also accused Israel of “aggression and illegal measures” on the Temple Mount that affect Muslim’s freedom of worship and access to the al-Aksa Mosque.
Because of UNESCO’s reputation for Israel bashing, many perceive its decisions as out of touch with reality, not only biblically, but also in their lives today, as evidenced by the wall-to-wall crowds enjoying the annual light show in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Every year since its inception in 2010, Israeli families from around the country flock to Or Yerushalyim (Jerusalem Light Festival), a week-long celebration that literally lights up the Old City walls and the sky above.
Many may have seen UNESCO’s announcement on their cellphones Tuesday evening – in between snapping selfies and videos – as they walked along the narrow streets, moms pushing strollers and dads hoisting kids to their shoulders for a better view.
There are lots of interactive displays for kids of all ages. One featured fountains bubbling up around beams of white light – a welcome refreshment on a sultry night – and others that delighted young and old alike.
Earlier Tuesday, Israelis celebrated another milestone as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Indian Prime Minister Modi at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport. The ceremony, live streamed in Israel and abroad, captured the pride and excitement of the first-ever visit to Israel by an Indian prime minister.
And it all took place as America celebrated its Independence Day with dazzling firework displays across the country.
Here in Israel, Anglo-Israelis – immigrants from the U.S. and Canada – decked out in red, white and blue, gathered for cookouts and picnics.
So even UNESCO’s untimely announcement – its latest attempt to delegitimize God’s covenant with Israel and the Jewish people – couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm resonating throughout the State of Israel on the Fourth of July.
Photos, Erin Zimmerman, CBN Documentaries
This article originally appeared on CBN News, July 5, 2017, and reposted with permission.