Following controversial resolutions denying the historic Jewish connection to Jerusalem’s Old City, Israel chose to grant UNESCO a replica of the Arch of Titus, which depicts the Roman seige of the city.

Photo credit: Erez Lichtfeld/Channel 2 News

Israel on Tuesday gave the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) a replica of the Arch of Titus, an ancient work of architecture depicting the 70 CE Roman siege of Jerusalem.

The decision to grant the unique present was made after UNESCO passed a controversial resolution that referred to Israel as “an occupying power” in East Jerusalem. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered to create a replica of the famous arch, through which Roman soldiers marched after the destruction of the Second Temple, and give it to UNESCO as a reminder of the Jewish people’s historic connection to the Old City.

The replica was granted to UNESCO during a ceremony on Tuesday, which was attended by the organization’s Director-General Irina Bokova.

“For many years, Jews would not pass through the Arch of Titus, seeing it as a symbol of the destruction and humiliation,” said Israel’s envoy to UNESCO, Carmel Shama HaCohen. “In an absurd turn of events, this very element is now being used to prove the Jewish people’s connection to Temple Mount, the Western Wall and the whole of Jerusalem.”