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Israel to withdraw from UNESCO following US – Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Thursday that his country would withdraw its membership from the UN cultural agency UNESCO.

“Netanyahu instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel’s withdrawal from the organisation in parallel with the U.S.,’’ the prime minister’s office said.

Netanyahu in a statement praised the U.S. decision earlier Thursday to pull out of UNESCO citing an “anti-Israel” bias.

“This is a courageous and moral decision, because UNESCO has become the theatre of the absurd and because, instead of preserving history, it distorts it,” he said.

Also, the U.S. withdrawal from UNESCO is the “price to pay for discrimination against Israel,” Israel’s UN Ambassador, Danny Danon, said in a statement in New York.

“UNESCO has become a battlefield for Israel-bashing and has disregarded its true role and purpose. Today’s decision is a turning point for UNESCO.

“The organisation’s absurd and shameful resolutions against Israel have consequences. Today is a new day at the UN, where there is a price to pay for discrimination against Israel.

“The U.S. stands by Israel and is a true leader for change at the UN. The alliance between our two countries is stronger than ever.”

Washington has already withheld its funding for UNESCO since 2011 when the body admitted Palestine as a full member.

The U.S. and Israel were among just 14 of 194 members that voted against admitting the Palestinians. Washington’s arrears on its 80 million dollars annual dues since they are now over 500 million dollars.

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