Israel’s Acceptance into UNESCO Group Hailed by Foreign Ministry

Israel’s acceptance into the European Regional Group of UNESCO by majority vote of that group’s membership was hailed by the Foreign Ministry today as the proper answer to the concerted Arab effort since 1974 to have Israel expelled from that UN body. The acceptance was announced by Taitta Toweett of Kenya at the full session of the UNESCO Conference in Nairobi.

The only opposition came from the Communist bloc. East Germany, acting as its spokesman claimed that since Israel was not a European country its acceptance should have been conditioned on a unanimous vote. A number of Arab countries abstained from voting on the procedure under which a state can apply to join the regional group of its choice, subject to the agreement of a majority of its members. They said they did not oppose the procedure because they wanted the Nairobi conference to succeed.

A senior Foreign Ministry official said today that Israel was accustomed to condemnations at international forums. UNESCO was the only organization where the Arabs succeeded in making Israel’s membership largely ineffectual and this could have led to Israel’s expulsion, he said. He noted the important role played by African states in thwarting the Arab aim.

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