Israel appoints new envoy to UNESCO two months after giving withdrawal notice

The Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry announced on Thursday that a new ambassador to UNESCO has been chosen. About two months ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed that Israel will be leaving the UN agency at the end of 2018.
UNESCO building in Paris Photo Credit: Serge Attal, Flash 90

Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to withdrawal from UNESCO, Israel has decided to appoint a new ambassador to the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. On Thursday, the Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry announced that Eli Lev has been selected as Israel’s new ambassador to UNESCO. The appointment will need to receive Netanyahu’s approval to become official.

In December, Netanyahu said that he has instructed Israeli envoy to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen to submit an official withdrawal notice. Two months earlier, the United States decided to withdrawal from the UN agency. The departures of the United States and Israel from the organization are set to take effect on December 31, 2018.

“UNESCO broke all records of hypocrisy, incitement and lies against Israel and the Jewish people,” Shama-Hacohen stated at the time of Netanyahu’s announcement. “Israel and the Jewish nation…should be the first to donate to this organization and the last to leave. However, in the 'Theater of the Absurd' that is UNESCO, sane countries have nothing to find."

Shama-Hacohen added that the decision was a show of gratitude to the US. “For many years, the US made sure that Israel doesn't walk alone, despite facing an overwhelming majority and paying a price,” he explained. “The bottom line is that the US left UNESCO for Israel and it is our moral duty that it doesn't do it alone.”

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