Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
FILE - A Jewish man prays at the Western Wall, Judaism's most holy site, in Jerusalem's Old City. Israel objects to a UNESCO draft resolution it says ignores the religion's historic ties to such sites. VOA

Israel suspended cooperation with UNESCO on Friday, a day after the U.N. cultural agency adopted a draft resolution that Israel says denies the deep, historic Jewish connection to holy sites in Jerusalem.

UNESCO’s draft resolution, sponsored by several Arab countries, uses only the Islamic name for a hilltop compound sacred to both Jews and Muslims, which includes the Western Wall, a remnant of the biblical temple and the holiest site where Jews can pray. The validated resolution is expected early next week, but the wording is unlikely to change.


NewsGram brings to you current foreign news from all over the world.

Israelis and many Jews around the world viewed it as the latest example of an ingrained anti-Israel bias at the United Nations, where Israel and its allies are far outnumbered by Arab countries and their supporters.

The draft resolution, seen by The Associated Press, diminished the links of two important holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City to Judaism. The text refers to the site known by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and by Jews as the Temple Mount only by its Muslim name. The draft resolution refers to the Muslim holy site of Al-Buraq Plaza without quotations, but puts the site’s Jewish name, the Western Wall Plaza, in inverted commas.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett informed UNESCO of Israel’s decision on Friday.

“Following the shameful decision by UNESCO members to deny history and ignore thousands of years of Jewish ties to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, I have notified the Israel National Commission for UNESCO to suspend all professional activities with the international organization,” Bennett said.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat said he was “outraged” by the resolution.

“Would UNESCO vote to deny the Christian connection to the Vatican? Or the Muslim connection to Mecca? The UNESCO vote claims that there is no connection between the Jewish people and the Western Wall. In fact, it is the UNESCO vote that has no connection to reality.”

Strained relations

The spat is the latest in Israel’s rocky relations with UNESCO, which it accuses of making decisions out of political considerations.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, with sites holy to Jews, Christians and Muslims, in the 1967 Mideast war. Palestinians claim the territory as part of their future state, and its fate is one of the most contentious issues in the decades-old conflict.

Jews refer to the hilltop compound in Jerusalem’s Old City as the Temple Mount, site of the two Jewish biblical temples. Muslims refer to it as al-Haram al-Sharif, Arabic for the Noble Sanctuary, and it is home to the Al-Aqsa mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock. It is the holiest site in Judaism and the third holiest in Islam, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Irina Bokova, the head of UNESCO, expressed dismay with the wording of the draft resolution, stating that “different peoples worship the same places, sometimes under different names. The recognition, use of and respect for these names is paramount.”

“The heritage of Jerusalem is indivisible, and each of its communities has a right to the explicit recognition of their history and relationship with the city,” Bokova said.

“To deny, conceal or erase any of the Jewish, Christian or Muslim traditions undermines the integrity of the site, and runs counter to the reasons that justified its inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage list.”

Palestinians approve of draft

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ government in the West Bank welcomed the resolution, as did Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for Hamas, which is pledged to Israel’s destruction, called the resolution a “step in the right direction.”

The dispute over Jerusalem’s holiest site ignited a wave of violence this time last year. Since then Palestinian attackers have killed 36 Israelis and two visiting Americans, mainly in stabbings. About 220 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire, most of them identified as attackers by Israel. The Palestinians, as well as Israeli and international rights groups, say forces have in some cases used excessive force to subdue attackers.

Israel has blamed the violence on incitement by Palestinian political and religious leaders, compounded on social media sites that glorify violence. The Palestinians say it is rooted in some 50 years of military rule and fading hopes for independence. (VOA)


Popular

Photo by Zan on Unsplash

The benefit of wine comes from antioxidants in grapes

While wine has long been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, a new study shows that alcohol-free versions may also give you all the health benefits of the real stuff. According to researchers at Anglia Ruskin University, it's not the alcohol, but the benefit of wine comes from antioxidants in grapes, the Daily Mail reported. The team analyzed data from nearly 450,000 people aged 40 to 69 to look at the impacts of moderate alcohol consumption on their health.

The study, published in the journal Clinical Nutrition, showed a 40 per cent reduced risk of coronary heart disease among people who drank up to 11 glasses of wine a week compared to non-drinkers and binge drinkers. The same reduced risk was found among those who regularly drank non-alcoholic versions, suggesting the goodness of grapes, the report said. Grapes are high in antioxidants called polyphenols, which can improve the function of the inner lining of the heart and increase levels of good cholesterol.

clear wine glasses on white table While wine has long been linked to lower risk of heart disease, a new study shows that alcohol-free versions may also give you all the health benefits of the real stuff. | Photo by Mathilde Langevin on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Austin Distel on Unsplash

In the world of virtual dating, it can be hard to think of ideas to go beyond 'hey' or 'hello', but nothing beats the chemistry of a good conversation to calm the nerves!

Have you ever matched with someone online and realised you have no idea what to say to them? Do you worry about setting a bad impression with the first thing you say? In the world of virtual dating, it can be hard to think of ideas to go beyond 'hey' or 'hello', but nothing beats the chemistry of a good conversation to calm the nerves! Your first (virtual) date should be lighthearted and a two-way street. The easiest way to do so is to ask questions that matter to you and check your partner's interest in the same. All in all, don't be afraid to be yourself, after all the aim is to find someone as like-minded (or goofy) as you are.

Having introduced people to their love stories for over two decades from all around the world, dating app OkCupid lists down five conversation starters that will get you and your date talking!

'What's something that you really want to do?'
Being able to uninhibitedly discuss your dreams, goals, and desires on a first date can be a terrific approach to get to know someone better. Your goals don't have to be strictly professional-sharing what you'd like to achieve, whether it's learning to play the guitar or mastering Italian cooking, might help your date gain a better understanding of your life and priorities. Break the ice with your partner and ask what they seek from their life and what they truly wish for. In fact, 34 per cent of daters on the platform find questions around the partners' goals, plans and wishes a good conversation starter.

black and white typewriter on green textile Your goals don't have to be strictly professional-sharing what you'd like to achieve. | Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Keep Reading Show less
wikimedia commons

A Malayali wearing a two-piece Mundu set made of kasavu fabric

Every part of South India changes colour on Onam and Vishu when Malayalis begin their celebrations. They cannot be missed for they decorate themselves in subtle shades of gold and white, and dot the streets in their traditional attire.

The white kerala saree, known as kasavu, has a rather interesting history. It grew to prominence when the Portuguese reached India, and began trade. Gold was exchanged for spices, and women began to incorporate gold into their sarees. The white part of the kasavu is believed to be inspired by the Greco-Roman one-piece, also known as 'toga' or 'palmyrene'.In Ravi Verma's paintings, the Malayali woman is visibly very similar to the European contemporary when she is decked in her adornments.

Keep reading... Show less