On behalf of the World Jewish Congress, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder wrote a letter to Director General Irina Bokova of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organizations expressing deep dismay at the recent passage of the resolution that designated Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs as Palestinian, with Rachel's Tomb named a mosque. In the letter, Lauder said
"For UNESCO to try and remove these two ancient Jewish sites from Israel is an outrage. For thousands of years, Biblical tradition has upheld that the Tomb of Rachel was acquired and built by Jacob the Patriarch of Israel, and has been among the most sacred sites of Judaism since. The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron has for an even longer period of time been part of the heart and soul of Israel. One has only to reference the biblical portion read just this past week in synagogues world wide that describes the purchase by Abraham the Patriarch of the Cave of the Patriarchs and the surrounding area of Hebron... To deem these historic sites that have been an integral part of the Jewish heritage for thousands of years is a denial of factual history."
The World Jewish Congress believes that politicizing and falsifying the origins of important Jewish religious and historic sites where Jews have prayed for millennia contravene the important role of UNESCO which was established to preserve and guard sacred heritage sites around the world. To deny the Jewish people the Biblical legacies of Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs is to deny history.
It is to Israel's credit that under its administration, people of all faiths continue to have free access to their holy sites and we value Israel's repeated assurances that this will remain so. World Jewish Congress welcomes the rejection of this resolution by the United States, and will continue to work against the misuse of United Nations bodies in the unfair and biased treatment of Israel.
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