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Israelis Object as UNESCO Declares Biblical Jericho a 'Palestinian Heritage Site'

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JERUSALEM, Israel – UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has declared ancient Jericho as a “Palestinian Heritage” site, and some say that eradicates the biblical connection to the city. 

Considered the “oldest city in the world," Jericho is most commonly known for its biblical history. The book of Joshua describes how the Children of Israel crossed into the Promised Land and then encircled Jericho for six days, according to the commandment of God.  On the seventh day, they circled the city seven times, blew the trumpets (shofars) and the walls came down. 

“On Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year, one of the holiest days of the Jewish year, UNESCO passed a resolution recognizing as a Palestinian heritage site, the ancient city of Jericho – and at the same time, erasing all references to the city’s ancient Jewish and biblical history,” Prof. Eugene Kontorovich at George Mason University Scalia Law School told CBN News. 

Israeli Foreign Ministry officials were quoted as saying they “see the decision as another sign of the Palestinians’ cynical use of UNESCO and the politicization of the organization.” 

The Palestinian Authority welcomed the UNESCO decision to recognize Ancient Jericho/Tell es-Sultan as their heritage site. 

It’s not the first time UNESCO has declared a biblical site as part of the Palestinian Authority. In 2018, the U.N. body declared Rachel’s Tomb, revered as the burial place of the biblical wife of Jacob in Bethlehem, and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their wives are buried, as "an integral part of the Occupied Palestinian territory.” 

For more on what’s behind this decision, Watch CBN News’ interview with Kontorovich by clicking on the video above.

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About The Author

Julie Stahl

Julie Stahl is a correspondent for CBN News in the Middle East. A Hebrew speaker, she has been covering news in Israel fulltime for more than 20 years. Julie’s life as a journalist has been intertwined with CBN – first as a graduate student in Journalism; then as a journalist with Middle East Television (METV) when it was owned by CBN from 1989-91; and now with the Middle East Bureau of CBN News in Jerusalem since 2009. As a correspondent for CBN News, Julie has covered Israel’s wars with Gaza, rocket attacks on Israeli communities, stories on the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and