UNESCO Head Criticizes Proposal Declaring Western Wall a Muslim Holy Site
JNS.org – UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova criticized the Arab-led proposal that would declare the Western Wall in Jerusalem a Muslim holy site.
“We all have responsibility to UNESCO’s mandate, to take decisions that promote dialogue, tolerance and peace,” said Bokova in a statement. “This is especially important for young people, who should be nurtured and educated for peace.”
Bokova also appealed to the UNESCO Executive Board to “take decisions that do not further inflame tensions on the ground and that encourage respect for the sanctity of the Holy Sites.”
The proposal, which is expected to voted on by Oct. 21, is “an attempt to redraw history and blur the connection between the Jewish people and its holiest place and to create a false reality,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry said.
Israeli Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen also called the resolution “a total Islamization” the Jewish holy site.
The Western Wall includes the remains of a retaining wall erected by King Herod from the Second Temple that was destroyed by the Romans during the First Century CE. While the Temple Mount is the holiest place in Judaism, restrictions against Jewish prayer at the site have led to the nearby Western Wall becoming a focal point for Jewish prayer.