Joined UNESCO: 16/09/1949

Head of State and/or Government

President of the State of Israel: H.E. Mr Reuven Rivlin
Prime Minister: Mr Benjamin Netanyahu

National Commission for UNESCO

President: Mr Naftali Bennett

Secretary-General: Dr Dalit Atrakchi

Israel National Commission for UNESCO
Ministry of Education 34, Shivtei Yisrael Street, Jerusalem 91911 Israel
(972.2) 560 37 46; (972.2) 560 37 47
(972.2) 560 37 45
Web site

Read more National Commission for UNESCO

Representation in the Executive Board

The 1991 amendment modified Article V of the Constitution, regarding the status of members of the Board. From the 27th session of the General Conference (1993), the Executive Board consists of Member States rather than of persons (26 C/Resolution 19.3).
Title Name Years Sessions
MemberM. Moche Avidor1962-197064-85

Participation in subsidiary organs

Organs elected by the General Conference

Intergovernmental Council for the Information for All Programme
Member (Term expires : 40th General Conference)

Other intergovernmental organs

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission

Addresses delivered in the general policy debate by the Head of Delegation at the General Conference

37 session of the General Conference

His Excellency, Mr Nimrod Barkan, Ambassador of Israel

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 37th session of the General Conference - revised and corrected version of the verbatim records of plenary meetings

36 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Gideon Sa'ar, Minister of Education

Speech delivered during the General Policy Debate of the 36th session of the General Conference and posted as received

35 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr Gideon Sa'ar, Minister of Education

“Israel expresses its gratitude to Mr Matsuura for 10 years of service as the Director-General of UNESCO (…). We also congratulate Irina Bokova, Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to France, for her election as the candidate to the post of Director-General of UNESCO.”
“UNESCO was founded on November 16, 1945 to prevent a recurrence of the horrors of World War II. Those in attendance that day would have been stunned to learn that a Holocaust denial movement would arise less than 20 years later.”
“I urge all Member States to implement Resolution 61, adopted at the last General Conference, by promoting Holocaust remembrance through education and by combating all forms of Holocaust denial.”
“Through the bilateral cooperation between UNESCO and Israel, based on an Israel-UNESCO memorandum of understanding, we engage with Member States, serving on intergovernmental committees such as Information for All, World Heritage, and specialized committees such as Bioethics.”
“Our ASPnet activities implement resolutions on sustainable education and coexistence tolerance. In June, ASPnet Europe national coordinators met in Israel to discuss achievements and prepare global policy through 2013.”
“Last year, at the Kaye Academic College of Education in Beersheba, hundreds of educators attended an international conference on teacher status.”
“To preserve mother tongues such as Ladino and Yiddish, we promote International Year of Languages programmes. A law enacted by our Knesset established the Academy of the Arabic Language in Israel, the first such academy established outside the Arab world.”
“We cherish our World Heritage sites, preserving them for future generations. In Sesame, our main regional cooperation project, we engage in dialogues with regional Member States.”
“Our Information for All focus is to reduce digital gaps in society. Under the World Memory program, Israel promoted digital preservation of architectural archives, films and newspapers dating from the 1920s.”
“Working with Haifa University's UNESCO Chair, Israel has helped develop a teacher training course in bioethics in Kenya, Romania and Slovenia.”

34 session of the General Conference

H.E. Mr David Kornbluth, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Delegate of Israel to UNESCO

“The Historic Decision on Holocaust Remembrance, cosponsored by 71 States, is clear proof of the strong engagement of the international community in promoting awareness of the Holocaust and in combating all forms of Holocaust denial. Denial carries the risk that such an event could happen again. […] UNESCO’s resolutions are a natural continuation of the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly on this issue.”
“UNESCO must help educate the world away from anti-Semitism and racism, which must be combated everywhere and eliminated in all their forms. UNESCO has a unique role: it can work to prevent recurrence by helping and contributing to national education programmes.”
“The will to reform and depoliticize UNESCO are very positive steps in the right direction. The Government of Israel sincerely appreciates the Director-General’s and the Secretariat’s actions in this respect.”
UNESCO has a very unique consensus mechanism that enables discussion that creates understanding and agreement on very delicate issues. Even some of the more delicate issues in the Middle East are subject to successful negotiation in the Organisation. There exists a special constructive atmosphere in UNESCO, which leads to bridging different opinions, despite the huge pressures involved.
Israel’s contribution to UNESCO takes the form of budgetary contributions and of committing specialists to UNESCO’s professional forums and projects. Israel is also an active participant in the intergovernmental bodies of UNESCO.
Israel also plays a substantial role in the World Heritage Committee and aims to protect the six World Heritage Sites in Israel like the White City of Tel Aviv and the new sites: Biblical Tells and the Incense Route – Desert Cities in the Negev, added to the list in 2005.
Israel is also a member of MAB (Man and Biosphere), MOST (Management of Social Transformations), the IPDC (International Programme for the Development of Communication) and now we have a candidacy for Information for All (IFAP). Israel’s activities in all UNESCO’s fields of competence have been greatly strengthened in recent years by the very active Israeli National Commission to UNESCO.
In the field of education, there is the Associated Schools Project, a school network to implement inter-cultural dialogue. Israel also attributes great importance to Education for All and teacher training by allocating contributions to the Teacher Training Initiative in Sub-Saharan Africa.
In the field of culture, Israel has special emphasis to the protection of linguistic diversity and promotes several projects for the conservation of Yiddish and Ladino languages.
In the field of science, Israel hopes to create a category 2 centre and stress out capacity building in water sciences and contribution to a tsunami early warning system.
In the field of communication and information Israel notes the work of UNESCO Chairs and the course held at Ben Gurion University for Israeli and Palestinian future journalists.

Celebration of anniversaries

150th anniversary of the birth of Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, linguist (1858-1922) (2008)

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda was a prime mover in the transformation of Hebrew from a dormant language of culture to a living, spoken language currently used in all spheres of modern life by millions of Israelis and by Jews worldwide. A Committee of the Hebrew Language was then established (1889). Later it became the Academy of the Hebrew Language, an organization that still exists today. The results of his work and the Committee's were published in a dictionary ("The Complete Dictionary of Ancient and Modern Hebrew" (1908- 1959)).

  • 100th anniversary of the birth of Shalom Aleichem (Israel) (1959)

  • Reference document: 54 EX/7