Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday instructed Israel's representative at UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen to submit to the organization's newly appointed Director-General Audrey Azoulay an official, written announcement of Israel's departure from the organization.
Israel would join the United States, which in October pulled out from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization following what it referred to as "anti-Israel bias."
The letter of departure will be submitted by Shama-Hacohen immediately after Christmas. According to the rules of the organization, departure shall take effect on the 31st of December of the year following the year of submission of the letter—meaning both the US and Israel are excepted to leave the organization by the end 2018.
It was Israel's delegation to UNESCO that recommended leaving the organization.
Senior Foreign Ministry officials initially advised not to resign, but the Foreign Ministry sent a special envoy, Zvi Tal, for talks at UNESCO and Washington, and he recommended that the Foreign Ministry leadership resign but leave the door open to return in case the organization undergoes some much needed reform.
The recommendation was made by Foreign Ministry Director-General Yuval Rotem, who presented it to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who adopted it today.
Shama-Hacohen congratulated Netanyahu on the decision, saying that Israel has no place in the organizations so long as it remains morally corrupt, and that it is our duty to support the US in its departure by joining it.
"UNESCO, led by the Arab countries and the rest of the despondent, frustrated and downtrodden parts of the world, has broken records of hypocrisy, incitement and lies against Israel and the Jewish people, polluting its noble values with politicization and political terrorism bordering on anti-Semitism," he stated.
"The State of Israel and the Jewish people should to be the first to contribute to the organization and the last to leave it, but in UNESCO's theater of the absurd, countries that have no connection to science, education and culture have bankrupted this important organization both professionally and budgetarily.
"Just as all the decisions of the organization had no negative impact on our sovereignty in our capital of Jerusalem or on the historical connection of the Jewish people to the city in general and the ancient part in particular, the (organization's) humiliating attacks enlisted Jews from around the world and foremost American Jewry until President Trump's historic declaration.
"The (organization's) decisions against Israel will never harm the connection and commitment of the State of Israel and every Jew to the values of education, culture and science, and therefore the Israeli government does not slam the door, but invites the leadership of the new organization together with its sane (member) countries to stop being afraid of the same gang that took over the organization.
"This departure is also our gratitude to our best and greatest ally, the United States, and in particular to its head of state and to its excellent ambassador to the United Nations, Nikki Haley.
"For many years now, the United States has been worried that Israel will not walk alone, while facing a crushing majority and paying the price (for it). The United States is leaving UNESCO in the bottom line because of the State of Israel, and it is our moral obligation not to let it do so alone."
The United Nation's education, cultural and scientific agency has passed several resolutions against Israel. It extended membership to Palestine in 2011.
Netanyahu's decision to withdraw from the organization came at the heels of Thursday's special UN General Assembly vote, passing a resolution which declared with overwhelming majority that Washington's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is "null and void" and should be "rescinded immediately."