Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends an award ceremony for outstanding new immigrant scientists at Tel Aviv University on October 26, 2010. (JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)
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October 29, 2010 (KATAKAMI / YNET) — Prime Minister Netanyahu rejects UNESCO’s call to remove Rachel’s Tomb, Cave of Patriarchs from list of Israel’s heritage sites, dubs organization’s decision political, ‘absurd attempt to cut Israel off from its heritage’.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to a UNESCO decision by which Rachel’s Tomb is located on the grounds of a mosque and that Israel should remove it, as well as the Cave of Patriarchs, from its list of heritage sites.
“The attempt to disconnect between Israel and its heritage is absurd,” said a statement released by Netanyahu’s office. “If the locations in which the mothers and fathers of the Hebrew people: Abraham, Yitzhak, Sarah, Rivkah, Leah, and Rachel were buried 4,000 years ago are not part of Jewish heritage, then what is?”
Netanyahu added, “It is unfortunate that an organization established in order to promote historic heritage sites around the world is trying, for political reasons, to uproot the connection between Israel and its heritage.”
The prime minister also stressed in his message the difference between Israel and its neighbors. “The State of Israel, in contrast to its neighbors, will continue to maintain freedom of worship for all religions at these sites, as well as their preservation for posterity,” the statement said.