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Israel - PM slams UNESCO calling Rachel's Tomb a mosque
From The Jerusalem Post
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bitterly attacked as "absurd" a UN statement that the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem are an integral part of the "occupied" Palestinian territories.
"The attempt to disconnect the nation of Israel from its heritage is absurd," he said in a statement his office issued on Friday, in response to an October 21 decision regarding both sites by the executive board of the United Nation's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO.
"If the places where the Jewish nation's forefathers and mothers - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel - were buried 4,000 years ago is not part of the Jewish nation's heritage, then what is a heritage site?" Netanyahu asked.
In February, Jerusalem's decision to include both sites in the country's new national heritage list was condemned. Muslims also consider both sites holy. They call the Tomb of the Patriarchs the Haram al- Ibrahimi Mosque, and claim that Rachel's Tomb was once the Bilal bin Rabah Mosque, named after the third convert to Islam.
In its press statement UNESCO referred to both sites, first by their Muslim names and then by their Jewish ones. It reaffirmed that the "two sites are an integral part of the occupied Palestinian territories and that any unilateral action by the Israeli authorities is to be considered a violation of international law, the UNESCO Conventions and the United Nations and Security Council resolutions
According to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan earlier this year the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb "were not and never will be Jewish sites, but Islamic sites."
I'm not sure how he makes that out, no I do know how he does it, its theft, pure and simple. But my Bible is quite clear. Genesis 35.19 - So Rachel died and was buried by the side of the road to Ephrathah, that is Bethlehem. Jacob set up a sacred pillar over her grave; it is known to this day as the Pillar of Rachel's Grave.
I have a high regard for the site. It is a place of pilgrimage of particular comfort for women experiencing trouble concieving. My prayer there in 1992 was of the sort Paul mentions at Romans 8.26 where the Holy Spirit makes sense of our inarticulate groans. My inarticulate groan was answered in full for which I am truly thankful.