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Israel snubs UNESCO’s Temple Mount resolution with ancient Jerusalem papyrus
Israel presented an ancient fragment of text in Hebrew referencing Jerusalem and recalled its ambassador to UNESCO in a gesture of protest against a resolution which criticized Israel for restricting Muslims’ access to a holy site in the city.
The text, written on a 11cm by 2.5cm papyrus, was dated by the Israel Antiquities Authority to the 7th century BCE and was said to be the earliest Hebrew reference to Jerusalem outside of the Bible.
“From the king’s maidservant, from Na’arat, jars of wine, to Jerusalem,” read the two lines of script. Archeologists believe it to be document detailing payment of taxes or transfer of goods.
“Hey UNESCO, an ancient papyrus dating to the 1st Temple 2700 yrs ago has been found. It bears the oldest known mention of Jerusalem in Hebrew,” Ofir Gendelman, a spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote on Twitter.
The official’s jab was directed at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, which earlier on Wednesday passed a controversial resolution criticizing Israel for its handling of the holy site in Jerusalem called Temple Mount by Jews and Haram al-Sharif by Muslims. The resolution was adopted after heated debate over its wording, and particularly the Arabic names used in the document. Israel accused UNESCO and its Arab members of trying to undermine Jewish connections to the holy site.
Temple Mount is administered by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf, a religious institution under the auspices of the Jordanian crown, which is responsible for managing rights of visitation and worship, management and repairs under the so-called Status Quo agreement. “Jews forbidden to step upon ground of al-Aqsa Mosque”