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Israeli leader praises US cuts to UN agency for Palestinians

YAD BINYAMIN, Israel — Israel’s prime minister has welcomed the U.S. decision to stop funding the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Speaking in southern Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that Israel has taken in hundreds of thousands of Jews uprooted from homes in the Middle East and Europe.

He said that UNRWA was formed “not to absorb the refugees but to perpetuate them.”

UNRWA was founded after the 1948 war surrounding Israel’s creation to serve some 700,000 Palestinians who fled or were uprooted from their homes. Today, it provides education and social services to over 5 million people across the region.

Netanyahu said the funds withheld by the U.S. should be used to “genuinely help rehabilitate” the refugees. He added that the number of refugees is much lower than UNRWA’s figures.