United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee voted Wednesday to approve a resolution ignoring Jewish ties to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The vote mirrored last week’s resolution by UNESCO’s Executive Committee declaring the Temple Mount and Western Wall Islamic, severing the historical Jewish connection to the sites and labeling Israel the “occupying power.”
Ahead of the vote, which Israel had expected to lose, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it was a “continuation of the theater of the absurd.”
“Radical Islamic forces destroy mosques, churches and archaeological sites, while Israel is the only state in the region that preserves them and allows freedom of worship for all religions,” Netanyahu said on Tuesday. “UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee deserves to be condemned, not Israel.”
At a press conference Tuesday, Israeli archaeologist Dr. Gabriel Barkay reminded reporters of Christianity’s connection to the Temple Mount, saying Jesus and the Temple Mount are referred to more than 20 times in the New Testament.
Barkay said anyone “…who tries to jeopardize the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount actually undermines Christianity because it is based on Jesus and his connection to the Temple Mount.”
Earlier this week, UNESCO Director General Irina Bokova released a statement distancing herself from the resolution and vowing to address the organization’s deep-rooted anti-Semitic and anti-Israel agenda.
“In the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant,” Bokova wrote.
In a weekend phone call with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, Netanyahu said even the theater of the absurd has limits, noting it was not a political question but one of historical facts.
“To say that the Jewish people have no connection to Jerusalem is like saying that the sun creates darkness,” Renzi said.
Bokova also responded to Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s decision to freeze Israeli support for UNESCO.
“Allow me to reassure you of my absolute commitment to continue all efforts in countering all forms of anti-Semitism, including those drawing on partial or distorted visions of culture and history, as well as those that seek to challenge the existence of Israel,” the Times of Israel quoted her letter.
Nearly two weeks ago, 39 U.S. legislators from both the House and Senate sent a letter urging members of UNESCO’s Executive Committee to oppose the latest Temple Mount resolution despite the fact that it had adopted a similar resolution in April.
On Monday, a bipartisan group of 10 U.S. lawmakers sent another letter urging the World Heritage Committee to reject the resolution, calling it “every bit as divisive as the Executive Board resolution.”
The U.S. voted against it.
This article originally appeared on CBN News, October 26, 2016, and reposted with permission.