There is some solace in the fact that this time Italy not only voted against the latest UNESCO resolution disavowing Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem, but also that it was the first to declare it would: at least one can walk down the streets of Rome or Florence without any shame.
However, the disgust of this absurd voteis overwhelming. Unfortunately, we live in a world that denies historical truth for hate and profit: UNESCO, a great, important and wealthy UN agency, which ought to assess, determine, and define the beauty of the world as man creates it, i.e.culture, artand nature, has again chosen to go down the road of persecuting the Jews simply because its majority is Islamic, Arab, or inspired by interests related to that world.
We Jews are a strange people: when we marry instead of saying only “I will love you and be faithful forever” we swear allegiance to Jerusalem: “If I forget you, Yerushalayim, may my right hand wither away,”is what we have been saying for three thousand years at the most important moment of our lives, and we swear it in front of the rabbi. The Ethiopian Falashas, while walking across the desert to Sudan on their way to Israel, they sang “Yerushalayim” full of hope: they kissed the floor of the plane (they had never seen one) believing it was already Jerusalem. David Ben Gurion immediately established Jerusalem as Israel’s capital just as King David did three thousand years ago. The Jews never left it even when they were driven out: in the 19th century they again became the majority.
Today, Jerusalem looks like a garden, the city is simultaneously steeped in tradition and on the cutting-edge of modernity: next to allgovernment offices, near the Knesset – where Jewish parties sit together with Arab ones –the city is characterized by pluralism and innovation in universities, hospitals, factories, schools, by an amazing transport network, and then you have the Old City with the Temple Mount and the Dome of the Rock, the Holy Sepulcher, which solely Israel’s administration has allowed full freedom of access to worshipers of all religions.The city that bleeds due to daily terrorist attacks reacts with determination, with a smileand always winning.
On Tuesday,the celebrations marking the 69th anniversary of the birth of the State of Israel were focused onJerusalem. And yet here comesthe lie perpetuated by UNESCO, the slap in the face: a resolution that rejects the Jewish State’s sovereignty in any part of Jerusalem, that states that everything belongs to the Palestinians, and that reality, history, and love no longer exist.
Twenty countries voted in favor of the resolution, 22 abstained (opting for complicit silence), and 10 opposed it: Italy, the United States, Holland, the United Kingdom, Lithuania, Greece, Paraguay, Ukraine, Togo, and Germany. Remember this list when considering your upcoming travel plans. You only go to see those whoare worth visiting. Yes, even if entails traveling to Togo, why not?
Translation by Amy K. Rosenthal
This article originally appeared in slightly different form in Italian in Il Giornale (May 3, 2017)