Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, will become an official holiday at the United Nations, following diplomatic efforts by Israel. The measure had the support of the US government, the World Jewish Congress and other Jewish organizations.
The Day of Atonement now joins the Christian holidays of Christmas and Good Friday and the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, in the list of 11 official UN holidays where staff of the world body are given a day off.
No official meetings will take place on the Jewish High Holiday, and Jewish UN employees can observe the holiday without forfeiting a day of vacation.
“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 in a statement.
Last year, 32 ambassadors signed letters calling on the UN to recognize the Jewish holiday, including the US, Albania, Andorra, Argentina, Bahamas, Canada, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominica, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Micronesia, Monaco, Nauru, Nigeria, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Samoa, Seychelles, South Sudan, Suriname, Togo, Uruguay and Vanuatu.
The Israeli mission to the United Nations said in a statement that Israeli cooperation with the United States “prevented the anti-Israel majority at the UN from blocking the resolution” to recognize Yom Kippur.