Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday instructed Israel’s representative at UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen to submit to the organization’s newly appointed Director-General Audrey Azoulay an official, written announcement of Israel’s departure from the organization.
Israel’s move comes several months after the U.S. State Department declared that the U.S. would be leaving UNESCO by 2019 due to its anti-Israel bias.
The letter will be submitted in the coming days and Israel’s withdrawal will go into effect at the end of 2018, according to the organization’s rules.
Senior Foreign Ministry officials initially advised not to resign, but the Foreign Ministry sent a special envoy, Zvi Tal, for talks at UNESCO and Washington, and he recommended that the Foreign Ministry leadership resign but leave the door open to return in case the organization undergoes some much needed reform.
The recommendation was made by Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem, who presented it to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who adopted it today.
The United Nation’s education, cultural and scientific agency has passed several resolutions against Israel.
Netanyahu’s decision to withdraw from the organization came at the heels of Thursday’s special UN General Assembly vote, in which 128 countries voted to reject U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.