The UN plays politics with a Jewish-Muslim shrine


National Post, 20 July 2017

Hebron is a place of intractable religious conflict. UNESCO was foolish to declare itself on the matter, which was not necessary

Kraków is a city of immense religious importance, and on my annual visits there is always much to reflect upon and pray about. But this was the first year here that I have been thinking about the tomb of Abraham.

Who owns the burial ground of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? It’s a biblical question to be sure, and even an ancient legal one. Certainly today it is a political one too. All of which invites reflection on hostility between Abraham’s descendants and the possibilities of reconciliation.

UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) thought it wise to stumble into this matter, declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs at Hebron — the tombs of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, Jacob and Leah — a World Heritage site in Palestine, and an endangered one at that.

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