Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Write UNESCO, Save Bethlehem

Can I ask you, after reading below, to do something?

Russia to Back Naming Bethlehem on World Heritage List
RAMALLAH, June 27, 2012 (WAFA) – Russian Minister of Culture Vladimir Medinsky said during a meeting with his Palestinian counterpart Siham Barghouti in Ramallah on Wednesday that his country will vote to include the city of Bethlehem on UNESCO’s International World Heritage of Humanity List.  The World Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization is expected to deliberate this week Palestine’s request to include Bethlehem on the World Heritage List.

Whatle I would wish you to do is to write to UNESCO and point out that if they do decide that Bethlehem is to be included then its history, especially as regards its Biblical and Jewish legacy be publicized.

Like so:
Biblical scholars believe Bethlehem, located in the "hill country" of Judah, may be the same as the Biblical Ephrath, which means "fertile", as there is a reference to it in the Book of Micah as Bethlehem Ephratah. The Bible also calls it Beth-Lehem Judah, and "a city of David". It is first mentioned in the Tanakh and the Bible as the place where the matriarch Rachel died and was buried "by the wayside" (Gen. 48:7). Rachel's Tomb, the traditional grave site, stands at the entrance to Bethlehem. According to the Book of Ruth, the valley to the east is where Ruth of Moab gleaned the fields and returned to town with Naomi. Biblical tradition holds that Bethlehem is the birthplace of David, the second king of Israel, and the place where he was anointed king by Samuel. It was from the well of Bethlehem that three of his warriors brought him water when he was hiding in the cave of Adullam.

In 1173, Binyamin of Tudela visited the town and found a few Jews living there as he recorded in his travelogue:

Two parasangs from Jerusalem is Bethlehem of Judea, called Beth-lehem; and within half a mile of it, where several roads meet, stands the monument which points out the grave of Rachel. This monument is constructed of eleven stones, equal to the number of the children of Jacob. It is covered by a cupola, which rests upon four pillars; and every Jew who passes there inscribes his name on the stones of the monument. Twelve Jews, dyers by profession, 15 live at Bethlehem. The country abounds with rivulets, wells, and springs of water.

UNESCO Headquarters:
  • 7, place de Fontenoy 75352 Paris 07 SP France
  • 1, rue Miollis 75732 Paris Cedex 15 France
General phone: +33 (0)1 45 68 10 00

Liaison Office to the United Nations in New York.
2, United Nations Plaza
Room 900
New York 10017
Mail: newyork(
Tel: +1-212 963 59 95
Fax: +1-212 963 80 14

Philippe Kridelka
UNESCO Liaison Office in New York
Mail: p.kridelka(
Tel: +1-212 963 5978
Fax: +1-212 963 8014

Liaison Office to the United Nations in Geneva.
15 route des Morillons
1218 Grand-Saconnex / Geneva
Mail: geneva(
Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 7880
Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 7805

Luís Manuel Tibúrcio
UNESCO Liaison Office in Geneva
Mail: l.tiburcio(at)
Tel: +41 (0) 22 917 7882

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