Israel officially withdraws from UNESCO, director-general says she ‘regrets’ the decision

After Israel handed in its official notice of withdrawal from UNESCO on Friday, the organization’s Director-General responded that she regrets the decision: “It is my conviction that it is inside UNESCO and not outside it that states can best seek to overcome differences in the organization’s fields of competence.”
UNESCO Photo Credit: Serge Attal/Flash 90

Israel officially notified UNESCO of its withdrawal from the organization on Friday, which will take effect on December 31, 2018. It now joins the US, which announced its withdrawal in October, citing anti-Israel bias and need for reform in the organization.

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay said that Israel has formally informed her of its withdrawal. “I regret this deeply,” Azoulay said on Friday. “It is my conviction that it is inside UNESCO and not outside it that states can best seek to overcome differences in the organization’s fields of competence.”

Last week, Israel's envoy to UNESCO Carmel Shama spoke of the decision to leave the organization. "UNESCO broke all records of hypocrisy, incitement and lies against Israel and the Jewish people," Shama stated. "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."



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