Israel and the US has kicked off the New Year by officially leaving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
“UNESCO is an organization that continually rewrites history by erasing the Jewish connection with Jerusalem,” said Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.
“It is corrupt and manipulated by Israel’s enemies and continuously separates the only Jewish state to condemn it. We are not going to be members of an organization that deliberately acts against us,” he said.
Israel announced its withdrawal from UNESCO in October 2017, a few days after the US Administration did so.
On October 2017, the US Administration said it was withdrawing from UNESCO, among other things because of its “anti-Israeli bias”.
A few hours later, Netanyahu also announced the departure of Israel and described the Trump Administration’s measure as “courageous and moral because UNESCO has become a theater of the absurd and because instead of preserving history, it distorts it” and both countries demand reforms in the agency.
“We hope the organization changes its ways but we do not trust that; therefore, my decision to leave the organization is firm and we will continue to carry it out, “said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the time, saying he would follow in the footsteps of the US Administration.
Israel joined UNESCO on September 16, 1949, and hosts six sites considered by the agency as World Heritage Sites, including Masada, the Old City of Ako (Acre), the Bahai Temples in Haifa and the “City Blanca “from Tel Aviv. These sites will remain on the list, said a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry.
The US Department of State, had suspended the payment of its contributions to the organization in 2011 after UNESCO accepted the Palestinian Authority as a full member state.