(JNS.org) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the foreign ministry to begin preparing to withdraw from UNESCO, following the U.S. announcement it will leave the United Nations cultural body due to its anti-Israel bias. In a statement Thursday, Oct. 12, Netanyahu welcomed President Donald Trump’s decision to leave UNESCO, calling it a “moral decision” and that UNESCO “has become a theater of absurd. Instead of preserving history, it distorts it.” However, a senior Israeli official said the Jewish state could remain in UNESCO if there were changes with the U.S. decision.
“If the United States changes its mind about UNESCO within another year and two months because of a change in the organization’s behavior, following the election of a new director general, Israel may eventually decide not to withdraw,” the senior official said, Haaretz reported. The U.S. State Department said the decision to leave UNESCO was “not taken lightly” and called on the need for “fundamental reform” in the international body.