Washington, D.C. – The Jewish Council for Public Affairs (JCPA) urges the members of the Executive Council of UNESCO to reject the draft resolution on Jerusalem and the Western Wall that was submitted by Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates on behalf of the Palestinian Authority. The resolution asks UNESCO, among other things, to affirm that “the Buraq Plaza is an integral part of the Al-Aksa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif,” referring to the Western Wall plaza only by its Arabic name, Buraq Plaza. It ignores the historic connection of Jews – and Christians – to the holy city of Jerusalem and does not mention that the plaza is the historic site of the First and Second Temples, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount. The proposed move devalues and dishonors the Jewish heritage in Jerusalem — and Israel more broadly – and denies the attachment of our community to our sacred places.
Jerusalem is a city holy to Christians, Muslims and Jews. Israel recognizes this and so should UNESCO.
This type of initiative would be problematic at any time. Because the last few weeks of violence in Israel were spurred in part by false allegations about Israel’s intentions to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, this resolution is particularly ill-timed and will serve only to encourage more hatred and violence. The recent arson of Joseph’s Tomb has only made the subject of respect for holy sites that much more critical.
JCPA, the public affairs arm of the organized Jewish community, serves as the national coordinating and advisory body for the 16 national and 125 local agencies comprising the field of Jewish community relations.