UNESCO Director States Jewish Jerusalem Connection – Wrongly Claims Muslim Connection
News Press Release
October 19, 2016

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) President Morton A. Klein released the following statement:

The ZOA was pleased to see that UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova’s statement on October 14, 2016 properly acknowledged that Jerusalem and the Har HaBait / the Temple Mount and Western Wall are sacred to Judaism.” Though Bokova went on to say that the Western Wall is the Jewish people’s holiest site. This is not so. The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism, and the Western Wall is the closest that Jews are able to come to worshiping at the Temple Mount.  (Please note the correction from the prior version of this article).

Director-General Bokova also  noted the Jewish people’s historic connections, saying:  “In the Torah, Jerusalem is the capital of King David, where Solomon built the Temple and placed the Ark of the Covenant.”   Bokova also noted the importance of Jerusalem to Christianity.

However, ZOA was disappointed that Director-General Bokova falsely claimed in her statement that: “In the Quran, Jerusalem is the third holiest site in Islam, where Muhammad arrived after his night journey from Al Haram Mosq (Mecca) to Al Aqsa.”  In fact, Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran.  (By contrast, Jerusalem is mentioned almost 700 times in the Torah, and over 150 times in the New Testament.) 

In fact, Jerusalem is never mentioned in the Koran.  (By contrast, Jerusalem is mentioned almost 700 times in the Torah, and over 150 times in the New Testament.) 

The Koranic passage that Bokova mentioned referred to Mohammed’s dream of journeying at night “from the Sacred Mosque (in Mecca) to the farthest mosque,” in approximately the year 622 (ten years before Mohammed’s death).  At the time of Mohammed’s night journey/dream, and throughout Mohammed’s life, Christians ruled Jerusalem, and there were no mosques in Jerusalem.  Thus the “farthest mosque” in Mohammed’s dream could not have been in Jerusalem.   The Dome of the Rock was not built until almost 60 years after Mohammed’s death (and almost 70 years after Mohammed’s night journey dream) – and the al Asqa mosque was not built until 715 – almost a century after Mohammed’s night journey dream.  The al Asqa mosque was built on the site of the Temple Mount, to attempt to de-Judaize the site of the Jewish people’s holy Temple.

ZOA thus calls on Director-General Bokova: (1) to correct the errors in her statement; (2) to urge the UNESCO executive board to annul the scurrilous preliminary “Occupied Palestine” resolution adopted in committee last week, which disregards the 3000-plus years connection between Judaism and Temple Mount and makes numerous other false accusations against Israel (See ZOA Condemns UNESCO Denial of Jewish Connection to Temple Mount, Oct. 13, 2016); and (3) to refuse to implement the false and incendiary preliminary UNESCO “Occupied Palestine” resolution.

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