The United Nations will start debating this month whether Yom Kippur should be an official UN holiday after ambassadors from 32 nations signed a letter in support of the cause.
Countries including America, Canada and Uruguay have formally asked the UN General Assembly committee that Yom Kippur stand alongside Christmas and the end of Ramadan on the UN calendar.
A decision from the 193 member states is now expected as early as December.
The international body currently acknowledges ten holidays, four of which are religious. However, none of them are Jewish: only Christmas, Good Friday, the end of Ramadan and Eid al-Adha - the celebration of Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac - are recognised.
Representatives referenced the principles of the High Holy Day in the letter, saying the idea that “every person’s deeds are weighed on the heavenly scales of justice” and Yom Kippur’s emphasis on “good deeds performed in the service of others” are “universal”.
The letter supported an initiative started in May by Israeli Ambassador Ron Prosor, who has also sent a letter to the other representatives at the UN to ask them to join the campaign.
Mr Prosor said that “On the one hand, the United Nations advances values of cooperation and engagement among nations. On the other hand, it is prioritizing one religion over the other.
“It is about time Jewish employees at the UN won’t be obligated to work on Yom Kippur. Such discrimination at the UN must end.”