Jewish Woman Becomes UNESCO Head - The Jewish Voice
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Monday, September 25, 2023

Jewish Woman Becomes UNESCO Head

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Audrey Azoulay elected to head UNESCO day after the US anounced that it will leave UNESCO over the organization’s anti-Israeli bias

France’s Audrey Azoulay will become the new Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

UNESCO’s executive board voted 30 to 28 in favor of Azoulay, a former French culture minister, who beat out Qatar’s Hamad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari.The Qatari potential nomination was protested by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who said that Al-Kawari had repeatedly endorsed anti-Semitic works and denied the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.

UNESCO’s 195 members must formally approve the decision when they meet in November.

Azoulay, who is Jewish, will replace outgoing head Irina Bokova and will have to persuade the United States and Israel to rejoin the organization after the two countries announced they would leave UNESCO due to its anti-Israel bias.

The decision, which takes effect in 2019, “was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO,” read the statement released by the State Department. The statement also cited “the need for fundamental reform in the organization and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO”.

Earlier this year, UNESCO declared the ancient city of Hevron, King David’s first capital and home to the tomb of the biblical patriarchs, an endangered Palestinian heritage site. Last year, UNESCO passed resolutions declaring that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, and described the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem as Muslim holy sites.

At the beginning of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised US President Donald Trump’s decision not to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal.

“It is completely clear, if one examines this agreement, if nothing changes, that Iran will have an arsenal of nuclear weapons within a few years,” he said. “This agreement does not block this. It creates a sure path to the production of an enrichment system that could quickly bring Iran to dozens of atomic bombs and even more; therefore, the decision is very important.”

Netanyahu asserted that “President Trump’s decision creates an opportunity to fix the nuclear agreement and stop Iran’s increasing aggression in our region. I believe that any responsible government, and whoever seeks to promote peace and security in the world, needs to take advantage of the opportunity that President Trump’s decision has created in order to improve the agreement or abrogate it and, of course, stop Iran’s aggression.”

Similarly, Netanyahu said that it was “self-evident” that the US decision to impose sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard “needs to be supported,” explaining that “the Revolutionary Guards are Iran’s main arm in spreading terror around the world and, of course, in spreading its aggression throughout the Middle East.”

Netanyahu also referred to his instruction last week that Israel withdraw from UNESCO, following a similar move by the US. He explained that UNESCO “has become a platform for delusional, anti-Israeli and – in effect – anti-Semitic decisions.”

“We hope that the organization will change its ways but we are not pinning hopes on this; therefore, my directive to leave the organization stands and we will move forward to carry it out.” 

By: Tzvi Lev

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