Israel has filed notice to withdraw from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) alongside United States.
Israel has blasted UNESCO in recent years over the organisation’s criticism of Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem and its decision to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011.
UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay in a statement has said that she deeply regretted Israel’s decision to withdraw.
“A member of UNESCO since 1949, Israel has a rightful place inside the United Nations agency that is dedicated to education, culture and science,” Azoulay has noted.
In announcing its withdrawal, US State Department cited “anti-Israel bias” and “the need for fundamental reform” within the organisation. Shortly afterwards, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel would pull out of UNESCO on the grounds that the body had become “a theatre of the absurd”.