Israel to join US in withdrawing from UN body

Israel to join US in withdrawing from UN body
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Thursday that Israel would join the U.S. in leaving the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 

"I welcome @realdonaldtrump's decision to withdraw from UNESCO," Netanyahu said in a tweet. "I have instructed the Foreign Ministry to prepare Israel's withdrawal from UNESCO in parallel with the United States."

"This is a courageous and ethical decision because UNESCO has become a theater of the absurd and instead of preserving history, distorts it," he said. 

Netanyahu's announcement came after the Trump administration announced the U.S. would be leaving the organization, accusing it of having an anti-Israeli bias.

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“This decision was not taken lightly, and reflects U.S. concerns with mounting arrears at UNESCO, the need for fundamental reform in the organization, and continuing anti-Israel bias at UNESCO,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. 

Israel has long been critical of the U.N. organization. 

The country withdrew its ambassador from UNESCO after the organization's World Heritage Committee adopted a resolution declaring Temple Mount, which is considered by Jews to be a holy site, a "Muslim holy site of worship."

Muslim's refer to the location as Haram al-Sharif, which means "Noble Sanctuary." 

The U.S. withdrew from the organization during the Cold War under former President Reagan, while the Obama administration cut $80 million per year of its funding after it admitted Palestine as a member, according to Foreign Policy.