The Old City of Jerusalem (Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com)
An outpouring of Christian support for Israel and decrying the UNESCO vote began during Sukkot, a Jewish holiday prophesied to have multi-national relevance.
The resolution passed last week on the day after Yom Kippur, and was ratified by UNESCO’s Executive Committee on Tuesday. It referred to the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, in Arabic terms, erasing any Jewish or Christian connection to the sites. It also solely blamed Israel (referred to as an “occupying nation”) for the violence in the past year, destructive construction on the Temple Mount by the Muslim Authority, and for its self-defensive blockade against shipping into Gaza.
The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem (ICEJ) issued a statement last Saturday decrying UNESCO’s “scandalous resolution”.
“This is tantamount to rewriting history and stripping these sites of their 4,000 years of Jewish and 2,000 years of Christian connection,” ICEJ Executive Director Dr. Jürgen Bühler wrote. “This represents a calculated insult against the Jewish people as well as an affront to over two billion Christians worldwide who know full well that as a faithful Jew, Jesus regularly visited the holy Jewish Temple on this site, taught there, and was zealous for its calling as a ‘house of prayer for all nations’.”
The ICEJ is currently hosting it’s 37th annual Feast of Tabernacles conference which brought over 5,000 Christian representatives from all over the world in support of Israel. The conference culminates in a spectacular parade displaying multinational support for Israel.
In an open act of defiance, 15 Christian parliamentarians from Europe, Africa and Latin America visited the Tomb of the Patriarchs and other parts of Jewish Hebron on Thursday. They are in Israel to participate in the annual Israel Allies Foundation conference, which is co-sponsored by the World Jewish Congress. This annual conference held during Sukkot brings Christian and Jewish pro-Israeli lawmakers from various countries. The tour of Hebron, organized by the Council of Judea and Samaria (Yesha), was the first time a group of foreign parliamentarians visited the Jewish community of Hebron.
The UNESCO resolution establishing an Islamic religious monopoly over the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron clearly rejects the Bible which states that Abraham purchased the site.
The participants included MEP Bas Belder, MEP Branislav Škripek, MP Jeppe Jakobsen of Denmark, MP Antero Laukkanen of Finland, MP Inga Bite of Latvia, MP Kees van der Staaij of the Netherlands, MP Peter Östman of Finland, MP Pablo Casado of Spain, MP Marek Krajčí of Slovakia, MP Alfred Heer of Switzerland, Minister Ruperto Long of Uruguay, Congressman Gerardo Amarilla of Uruguay, Congresswoman Karla Prendas of Costa Rica, MP Kenneth Meshoe of South Africa, and MP Reverend Matanga of Malawi.
On Thursday, 19 parliamentarians from 17 countries participating in the conference signed a declaration against UNESCO’s resolution, presenting it to Deputy Minister Michael Oren (Kulanu).
In addition to the visiting diplomats, over 30,000 Israelis visited the Biblical city in a call to protest the UNESCO resolution. It has been 50 years since Israel conquered Hebron and the Temple Mount in the Six Day War.