The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) who are responsible to institute and administer “education programs” in Arab-controlled parts of Israel (including Gaza, and Judea & Samaria – on the Western Bank of the Jordan River) passed a resolution which denies Israel’s historic connection to the Temple Mount and Western Wall.
Meeting in Paris yesterday, UNESCO passed a resolution which referred to the Al-Asqa Mosque and the Temple Mount by its Arabic term Al-Haram Al-Sharif — giving preeminence to the Dome of the Rock Mosque which was built on the site where the First and Second Jewish Temples once stood.
As we briefly outline below, the First Temple was built in 833 – 827 BCE and the Second Temple was built between 353 and 349 BCE. To put the claims of the UNESCO resolution in context, the Al-Asqa Mosque was built in 705 CE and the Dome of the Rock Mosque (Qubbat As-Sakhrah) was built in 691 CE on the site of the First and Second Jewish Temples. How outrageous, that United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) — who are responsible to institute and administer “education programs”, would so blatantly deny history.
UNESCO’s resolution referred to the Western Wall only in quotation marks and only after using the Arabic term Al-Buraq Plaza and accused Israel of planting “fake Jewish graves” in Eastern Jerusalem; a claim which is especially grievous given that the old Jewish cemetery on Mount Olives was desecrated by the Jordanians prior to 1967, using its tombstones to pave roads.
UNESCO is not only rewriting history, it is ignoring connection of Judaism to the Temple Mount; where the two Temples stood for a thousand years. While Jews can ascend to the Temple Mount area, they are forbidden to pray and Jewish visitors are frequently arrested by the ‘Temple police’ if it is even thought the they uttered a silent prayer before sipping from their water bottle.
The First Temple ( Solomon’s Temple)
The First Temple was constructed by King Solomon, based on detailed plans that God had given to his father, King David through the prophet Nathan. King David had wanted to build it himself, but was told that his son would be the one to do it. Solomon began building the Temple in 833 BCE and it was completed in 827 BCE. The site was on Mount Moriah — the same location where Abraham was prepared to offer up his son Isaac. The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians 470 years after it was built.
Return from Captivity
The different stages of the return to Zion from Babylon are documented in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah and are as follows;
- In 538 BCE, approximately 1,000 Jews returned under a man known as Sheshbazzar out of the notion to redeem the land of Israel from its ruins and to re-establish the Temple.
- The second wave of return was led by Zerubbabel, the grandson of Jeconiah, king of Judah who was a descendant of the house of David. It was these that completed the construction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 516 BCE.
- The third wave of return was led by Ezra in 458 BCE with official approval of the Persian government and permission to take money from exiled Jews to the Temple and Jews living in Israel. Around 5,000 Jews were in this wave of Zion returnees. Ezra appointed magistrates and judges and to teach the law of God to the people of Israel.
- The fourth wave of return was led by Nehemiah in 445 BCE. It is not clear how many Zion returnees joined him, but the Book of Nehemiah depicts a strong army escort supplied by the king.
Building of the Second Temple
In 353 BCE, exactly seventy years after the destruction of the First Temple, the Jews began building again—at first independently, but King Darius soon ratified their effort. The Second Temple was completed in 349 BCE. In 66 CE, after the Jews protested excessive Roman taxation, the Romans plundered the Second Temple and killed 6,000 Jews. This was the start of the Jewish-Roman war (66-73 CE) and was led by the future Emperor Titus. Titus ordered the burning of the Second Temple which was built after the return of the captives of Babylon to Zion and which was only ~ 90 years old at the time. Although this seemed to be natural events of history, these events had been prophesied by Jesus in Matt 24:1-25 & 46, Mark 13:1-37 and Luke 21:5-36. With the ‘siege of Jerusalem’ in 70 CE and the destruction of the Temple, the Jews including those of the Early Church fled Jerusalem.
Josephus documents that 1.1 million people were killed during the siege of which the majority were Jewish and 97,000 were captured and enslaved and many fled to areas around the Mediterranean. The Jewish state came to an end in 70 CE and the Second Jewish Diaspora began.
UNESCO resolution was submitted by Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan and France, Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia were among the non-Arab nations who supported it. In all, it was approved by 33 states.
Only six countries voted against the resolution, including the United States, Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.
Seventeen countries abstained.
UNESCO prides itself on promoting tolerance, interfaith and inter-cultural dialogue, yet it passed a resolution which attempts to erase the Jewish people from history. This resolution makes UNESCO an accomplice to the spreading of anti-Jewish propaganda and to the perpetuating of racial discrimination of Jews in their historical homeland. Furthermore, this resolution serves to fan the flames of terrorism against Jews in Israel — simply for being there. Instead of promoting tolerance they are promoting terrorism.
France, Spain, Sweden, Russia and Slovenia certainly need to be held to account for supporting this resolution as do Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan for submitting it.