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Chaim Herzog (Photo: Nati Harnik/GPO)

It seems that the United Nations' anti-Israel moves - once again displayed by UNESCO's vote to name the Cave of the Patriarchs a Palestinian site - have been going on for a long time. They have, writes The Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon, who points out that Israeli Ambassador to the U.N. - and future president - Chaim Herzog was forced to defend the Hebron holy site more than four decades ago:

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu started Sunday’s cabinet meeting slamming the recent UNESCO decision regarding the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron by quoting extensively from the chapter in Genesis that recorded the sale by Ephron the Hittite to Abraham of the cave where the tomb is situated.

Netanyahu could just as easily have started his censure of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s move to register the tomb as an endangered Palestinian world heritage site by quoting another biblical verse instead, this one from Ecclesiastes (1:9): “What has been is what will be; what has been done is what will be done; There is nothing new under the sun.”

Because, as Labor MK Isaac Herzog pointed out to The Jerusalem Post on Monday, his father, Chaim Herzog – when he served as ambassador to the UN in the mid-1970s – not only quoted from that very same chapter from Genesis in a 1976 Security Council debate about Hebron and the Tomb, but in letter to then-UN secretary-general Kurt Waldheim before the debate actually had the biblical verses chronicling the sale of the cave circulated as an official document to the General Assembly.

“For the first time in history,” read a Jerusalem Post article from November 7, 1976, “an agreement made almost 4,000 years ago and recorded in the Bible has been issued as a UN document.”

According to the report, Waldheim – at Herzog’s request – circulated the 19 verses of Genesis chronicling the sale.

At that time, Israeli control over Hebron and the cave was the subject of a debate at the Security Council because of disturbances on Yom Kippur that year at the site.

During the debate, which came amid an onslaught of anti-Israel resolutions following the notorious “Zionism is Racism” resolution the year before, Herzog displayed the Bible as he quoted the text...

Tags: History , Israel

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