Jerusalem

Jerusalem is an ancient city and capital of the State of Israel, located in the center of the country. The Palestinian Authority also lays claim to Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital.


Jerusalem is considered a holy city by major religions, chiefly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Jerusalem is a host to many religious sites, especially within the walls of the old city. The Temple Mount is remains of the Jewish temples, and the holiest site in Judaism. Jews often pray at the Western Wall, or Kotel, a retaining wall for the Temple Mount built by Herod the Great. On the temple mount now sit the al-Aqsa and Dome of the Rock mosques, the former being the 3rd holiest site in Islam. Several chirstian sites, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, are important to many sects of Christianity. 


As it is the political capital of Israel, Jerusalem is home to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset. There are also ministries that have their headquarters in Jerusalem, such as the Foreign Ministry. The status of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is not recognized by all international actors. However, embassies of states such as the US reside in Jerusalem.


Jerusalem is built on several hills, and has a cooler climate than many other major cities. One of its aesthetic features is that buildings are made with Jerusalem stone, a pale white-yellow limestone.


Jerusalem has been the center of Jewish life since Davidic times. In its history, it has been conquered and destroyed dozens of times by invading armies and empires. However, there has always been a Jewish presence in Jerusalem. In late 1800 Ottoman censuses, Jews were a majority of the population of Jerusalem. However, Jerusalem was set to be an international city in initial partition plans in the late 1940s. Following the Israeli War of Independence, Jerusalem was split between east and west, with the east side being in the possession of Jordan. In 1967, Israel retook east Jerusalem, and the bulk of Jewish holy sites. In 1980, the Knesset passed the “Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel” which establishes a united Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and under complete Israeli sovereignty. 

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