The decision by the UN’s cultural agency, at a meeting in Poland by secret ballot, saw 12 countries vote in favor, with three against and six abstentions.
Israel has accused UNESCO of making a politically motivated move, part of what it says is an attempt to deny the Jewish character and heritage of certain key sites in the Holy Land.
Israeli Government Minister Naftali Bennett, leader of the right wing Jewish Home Party, called it a “disgraceful vote.”
“The Jewish connection to Hebron goes back thousands of years,” said Bennett. “It’s disappointing and disgraceful that time and again UNESCO denies history and distorts reality, knowingly serving those attempting to erase the Jewish state.”
The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement it would be reducing Israel’s funding to the United Nations by one million dollars so that it could build a museum in the town.
The United States had worked strongly to prevent the decision. It has taken a tougher line under the Trump administration against what it says is anti-Israel bias among certain UN organizations. US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley had said passing the vote on Hebron would have “unfortunate” repercussions for the peace process.