What would you say if you found out that UNESCO – United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization – decided to deny the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Vatican or the relationship between Islam and Mecca?
You would probably be horrified at such an absurd decision. This was the feeling of Jews around the world, when in October 2016, the organization came to a decision denying the link between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount. How irrational was this decision? So much so, that most of the leaders of the free world opposed the decision and even UNESCO’s own Secretary General Irina Bokova downplayed it by saying that it has no validity.
This type of de-legitimization is not new to the Jewish people. We have been dealing with it from even before the State of Israel was born in 1948. This is despite the fact that we are a democratic country, protect the freedom of religion and guarantee the rights of all minorities in Israel. Contrasting Israel’s morals with other counties in the United Nations, evokes a disturbing picture that raises many questions about the ability of the free world to defend itself against those who threaten its values and existence.
For example, Qatar sits on the Human Rights Council of the United Nations. Yes, Qatar, a regime that forcibly employs local workers in the construction industry. On this same council, Iran and North Korea attacked Canada for alleged human rights violations. In North Korea, you will find a regime that murders people simply because they suffer from depression. In Iran, men are stoned to death because of their sexual identity and women suffer from severe discrimination. Should these countries even have the right to sit on the Human Rights Council?
Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, deals with security threats that no country in the world faces. Yet, Jewish immigrants revived a small piece of desert in the Middle East and Israelis build a model society. Moreover, under the leadership of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s incredible developments, especially in the areas of agriculture, technology and security have been shared with the rest of the world, changing the way the International Community relates to us.
For example, Israeli’s UN ambassador was elected to serve as the head of the legal committee of the organization, one of seven standing committees, with the support of 109 countries. Additionally, for first time ever, there was a UN Security Council draft resolution condemning a terror attack Tel Aviv against innocent Israelis.
While Israel strives for a peace agreement with the Palestinians and for the day we can live side by side, our neighbors continue to de-legitimize our country. As part of our routine lives, Israel deals with the lies spread by the Palestinians and some neighboring Arab countries.
However, there is no denying the fact that despite everything, Israel continues to succeed. That is who we are: impossible to break.
Eli Hazan is Foreign Affairs Director at the Likud Party