Yom Kippur Declared official UN Holiday

A diplomatic effort that began two years ago bore fruit on Friday, when the UN Secretariat announced that Yom Kippur will be recognized as an official UN holiday.

The efforts to make Yom Kippur a recognized holiday at the Unuted Nations began during previous Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor’s tenure. The point of it was to get UN member states to acknowledge the holiest day on the Jewish calendar.

About 60 members supported the move in the past, among them the US, Canada, and the European Union, but because of the objections of Arab states, headed by Saudi Arabia, it kept getting pushed back.

A year ago, a general acknowledgement in principle that Yom Kippur was a holy day to the Jewish people was accepted, and ever since then Arab states have worked to delay the official recognition.

Current Ambassador Danny Danon kept the efforts going quietly, along with the American delegation headed by Ambassador Samantha Power.

“Yom Kippur is the holiest day for the Jewish people, the UN should have recognized it many years ago,” he said. “This is a correction of a historic wrong directed at the Jewish people and the State of Israel.”

Up to now, ten holidays have been officially recognized by the UN, including Christmas and Eid al-Fitr, an important Muslim holiday which concludes the month of Ramadan.

The UN recognition of Yom Kippur doesn’t just mean the recognition of the holiday’s importance to the Jewish people, but also allows Jewish UN workers to take it as a day off. In addition, the decision means that no official discussions or votes will take place during Yom Kippur, unlike what was being done up to now.

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  1. Joe Levin
    Joe Levin says:

    The United Nations headquarters in New York on Thursday recognized the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur as an official UN holiday.

    As part of the decision, from now on no official meetings will take place at the UN on Yom Kippur and employees can chose to take the day off.

    The decisive victory was achieved thanks to the cooperation between Israel’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Danny Danon, who led the efforts on behalf of the Israeli Mission, and the United States Permanent Representative of the UN, Ambassador Samantha Power.

    “Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish People, and the UN should have recognized this holiday many years ago. Today we finally have an official place for the Jewish religion in the world’s parliament”, Danon said on Thursday.

    The partnership with the American prevented the anti-Israel majority at the UN from blocking the resolution.

    “The American-Israeli partnership at the UN stands for good versus bad and right versus wrong. The value of justice, anchored in Jewish tradition and thought, will finally find its place in the family of nations, and be a part of the UN’s history”, Danon added.

    Until today, the UN recognized 10 official holidays, including Christmas and Eid Al Fitr, but no Jewish holidays. Thursday’s decision establishes Yom Kippur as an official UN holiday, and this international recognition of the holiday’s importance will allow Jewish UN workers to observe the holiday without the need to take a day off.

    Last year, ambassadors to the United Nations from 32 countries asked the UN to recognize Yom Kippur as an official holiday, noting that the Jewish Day of Atonement is an annual day with a “universal” message.

    Yom Kippur is observed on the tenth day of the month of Tishrei, which falls each year in September or October.

    The day, dedicated to fasting and prayer, marks the end of the 10 Days of Awe which start with the Jewish new year on Rosh Hashanah. The holiday is observed by many Jews, even non-practicing ones.

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