The Nation of Israel and Jews have been part of the Middle East for thousands of years. One of the earliest non-Biblical references to Israel is found on the Merneptah Stele in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, Egypt.
The stele, a 10 foot high (3 meters) granite stone monument, was discovered in 1896 during archaeological work on the ancient Egyptian city of Thebes
Also called the Israel Stele, it is dated to the reign of the Egyptian king Merneptah (1213 BC – 1203 BC). It outlines his various military victories. The last three lines list his defeat of Canaan including Israel:
“Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;”
Yet despite this find and thousands of other archaeological discoveries, in a recent UN vote Egypt along with 23 other nations passed a motion that effectively denies any Israeli connection to Jerusalem’s temple mount and Western Wall (the Jewish Wailing Wall).
This motion declaring the Temple Mount a purely Muslim site was passed in a 24-6 vote by the United Nations Educational and Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Thursday, October 13, 2016. This UN organization is made up of 58 member countries.
Six countries opposed the motion — Great Britain, US, Netherlands, Germany, Estonia and Lithuania and twenty-six countries abstained. Two countries were absent during the vote. A complete list of how the countries voted can be seen at the end of the article.
In response to the vote, UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova, who has little say on UNESCO policies, voiced her disapproval stating:
“Jerusalem is the sacred city of the three monotheistic religions — Judaism, Christianity and Islam.”
Though Muslims have two buildings on the Temple Mount, of the three religions that look to Jerusalem as a religious site, Islam was last to the show.
Muhammad (570 AD – 632 AD) wrote the Qur’an and effectively started Islam. This led to Muslims constructing two buildings on the Temple Mount — the Dome of the Rock in 691 AD and the Al-Aqsa mosque in 705 AD.
However, Christians have been involved in the area since the death of Jesus around 30 AD and of course the Jews centuries before that.
The move has been part of a concerted effort by the Palestinians to reduce Israel’s claim on the Temple Mount and ultimately Jerusalem. Palestine became a member of UNESCO in 2011.
In 2015, Palestine put forward a motion that would see the UN only refer to the Temple Mount by its Islamic names Al-Haram Al-Sharif (literally the Noble Sanctuary) and the Western Wall by Buraq.
Since that motion passed all UN documents use only the Muslim names when referring to these areas.
Since 2015, the Palestinians have also brought forward motionsto declare the Temple Mount a Muslim-only site. Though the initial motions were defeated they finally achieved their goal in the recent vote.
UNESCO was initially supposed to vote on the motion in July at a meeting in Turkey, but it postponed it until October due to an attempted coup in that country. Before the October vote, UNESCO officials managed to add a line stating the Temple Mount was a holy site for three religions — Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
The vote still needs ratification by UESCO’s executive committee but that is a mere technicality as it is made up of the same member states who supported the motion.
Though Israel will ignore UNESCO’s obvious bias, many in Israel fear the decision will embolden terrorists in their attacks on Israel.
Responding to the vote, The Jerusalem Post quotes Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu who stated:
“To say that Israel has no connection to the Temple Mount and the Western Wall is like saying that China has no connection to the Great Wall of China or that Egypt has no connection to the pyramids. By this absurd decision, UNESCO has lost what little legitimacy it had left.”
He further pointed to the Arch of Titus in Rome as evidence of the Jew’s long-established history in Jerusalem. Titus built the arch to commemorate his victories and on the arch is an engraving of the Jewish Temple’s seven-branched menorah to commemorate Rome’s sacking and destruction of the Jewish Temple in 70 AD.
As we read the account of Israel’s exodus out of Egypt, the Bible records that initially the Pharaoh hardened his heart (Exodus 8:32), but by the end, it states that God was hardening the pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12). This was God’s judgement.
When nations choose to believe a lie, God will respond accordingly. Paul warns that in the end times, God will send a deluding influence, because that is ultimately what they want:
11 For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false.” (2 Thessalonians 2:11 NASV)
How the UNESCO member nations voted
|VOTING YES SUPPORTING THE PALESTINIAN MOTION
- UNESCO Votes: No connection between Temple Mount and Judaism: The Jerusalem Post
- UN Resolution: Temple Mount and Kotel are Muslim, Israel to blame for violence: Breaking Israel News