Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has directed Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday to submit a formal letter to the organization’s director-general announcing Israel’s departure from the UN body.
“The letter will be submitted by Ambassador Carmel Sharma-Hacohen in the coming days, certainly before the end of the year,” said Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Emmanuel Nahshon.
Netanyahu had already announced in October that Israel would pull out of UNESCO following a decision by President Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the agency for its alleged “anti-Israel bias.”
The Foreign Ministry spokesman had said Saturday that a letter of withdrawal will be sent before the start of the new year.
“Over the weekend I instructed the Foreign Ministry to withdraw from UNESCO,” Netanyahu said at the start of his weekly cabinet meeting.
“I think that this is necessary in light of the biased, unilateral and absurd attitude of the organization towards us and also in the background of the U.S. strong stance in the UN, which we welcome,” he continued.
Israel has complained that a succession of UNESCO motions condemning its actions in Jerusalem did not take into account Jewish links to the city and the disputed holy site known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount.