Former French Minister of Culture, the Jewish, Audrey Azoulay, has been elected to lead as UNESCO Director-General, just a day after the US and Israel announced that they will leave the UN’s education & culture body over its blatant anti-Israeli bias.
By Tzvi Lev in New York
France’s Audrey Azoulay will become the new Director-General of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
UNESCO’s executive board voted 30 to 28 in favor of Azoulay, a former French culture minister, who beat out Qatar’s Hamad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari.The Qatari potential nomination was protested by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who said that Al-Kawari had repeatedly endorsed anti-Semitic works and denied the Jewish connection to Jerusalem.
UNESCO’s 195 members must formally approve the decision when they meet in November.
Azoulay, who is Jewish, will replace outgoing head Irina Bokova and will have to persuade the United States and Israel to rejoin the organization after the two countries announced they would leave UNESCO due to its anti-Israel bias.
The decision, which takes effect in 2019, “was not taken lightly, and reflects US concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO,” read the statement released by the State Department. The statement also cited “the need for fundamental reform in the organization and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO”.
Earlier this year, UNESCO declared the ancient city of Hevron, King David’s first capital and home to the tomb of the biblical patriarchs, an endangered Palestinian heritage site. Last year, UNESCO passed resolutions declaring that Israel has no rights to Jerusalem, and described the Temple Mount and Old City of Jerusalem as Muslim holy sites.
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