Israel News for October 14, 2016

As expected, UNESCO voted in favor of a resolution which denies any Jewish connection to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. Twenty-four countries voted in favor of the resolution, six against, 26 abstained and two were absent.

The U.S., Britain, Germany, Holland, Lithuania and Estonia voted against the resolution. None of the European countries, including France, Spain and Sweden, voted for the resolution. Neither did India and Argentina.

Israeli and Jewish leaders across the political spectrum slammed the UNESCO vote. PM Netanyahu said, “To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China and that Egypt has no connection to the Pyramids. With this absurd decision, UNESCO lost the little legitimization it had left. But I believe that the historical truth is stronger and the truth will win.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who also leads Israel’s National Commission for UNESCO, suspended all activities and participation with the organization.

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Security Council
The UN Security Council will be holding an informal session today entitled, “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and Two-State Solution.” The session, spearheaded by the Palestinians, will be co-chaired by Angola, Egypt, Malaysia, Senegal and Venezuela.

B’Tselem, the left wing Israeli human rights watchdog, will make a presentation at the session. B’Tselem’s executive director, Hagai El-Ad, said, “This will be one of the most important diplomatic opportunities in the history of B’Tselem, and that “the occupation is not an internal Israeli matter, and the Israeli public is not authorized to decide if it wants it to continue. It is a clear international matter.”

A press release from B’Tselem stated, “The responsibility for ending the occupation and the human rights violations that it entails lies first and foremost with Israel, yet this reality will not change as long as the international community stands idly by.”

Peace Now announced that it would not participate in the meeting, but Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now (which is affiliated with Peace Now) will speak.

Israel’s permanent representative to the UN, Amb. Danny Danon, criticized the meeting, saying, “The Palestinians continue to look for a way to bypass direct negotiations and are generating diplomatic terrorism against Israel. It’s sad and disappointing that precisely on days of self evaluation and prayers for the unity of the people of Israel, Israeli organizations are giving moral cover to the persecution of Israel at the UN.”

B’Teselem, in turn, attacked Danon for attacking them.

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Spiritual Meeting
Jewish and Muslim religious leaders participated in a forum in Jerusalem to discuss ways of countering religious driven violence. The forum was hosted by Israeli President Reuven Revlon and included Israelis and Palestinians.

The Jewish delegation was led by Israel’s Chief Sephardic Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef. The Muslim-Palestinian delegation was led by the Palestinian Authority’s Chief Sharia Justice and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s Advisor to Muslim Affairs Sheikh Mahmoud al-Habbash.

Rabbi Yosef called on Muslims and Jews to overcome the minority of extremists on both sides and to live in peace, as he claimed Muslims and Jews had done in the past (although the Muslims were always in control back then).

He also spoke out against the “genocide” in Syria saying:

“As we sit here, people not far from us, women and children in nearby Syria are being murdered with chemical weapons, biological weapons and air bombs. Millions of refugees are without a roof over their heads, hundreds of thousands of others are starving under siege. They may not be our friends, but they’re people going through a small Holocaust.”

“The people of Israel went through a terrible Holocaust 70 years ago. Millions of Jews were murdered, millions of others remained refugees without a safe haven. The Nazi beast murdered all those millions, while the world saw this and stayed silent. We, as Jews who physically paid the price for that silence, let out a cry all those years, asking how the world knew and stayed silent.”

“I want to take advantage of this stage to say that as Jews, we cannot be silent. Let the call come out of here: we cannot move on from genocide, not in Syria nor anywhere or with any people, even if they are not our friends.” He added that “we are all human beings. I call on you, leaders from all religions—lift up your voices. Let each person use their influence. If this happens, perhaps we will be able to prevent such atrocities.”

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Dore Gold Resigns
Dore Gold, the American born and educated Director General of the Foreign Ministry, has resigned from his position due to personal reasons. Gold previously served as Israel’s Ambassador to the UN and as a political advisor to PM Netanyahu.

Gold was apparently not allowed to participate in talks with Turkey, Egypt, the US or the Palestinians, but was instead relegated to dealing with African leaders as well as internal budgetary matters in the Foreign Ministry. But Gold gave spending more time with his grandchildren as his main reason for resigning.

PM Netanyahu currently serves as Foreign Minister and Tzipi Hotovely as Deputy Foreign Minister.

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