city in Western Asia, claimed by both Israel and the Palestinian Authority as its capital

Jerusalem, located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religionsJudaism, Christianity and Islam. Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem. ~ Psalms 122:6

According to Biblical tradition, King David established the city as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple; there is no archaeological evidence that Solomon's Temple existed or any record of it, other than the Bible. These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BC, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people. The sobriquet of holy city (עיר הקודש, transliterated ‘ir haqodesh) was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times. The holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus's crucifixion there. In Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. In Islamic tradition in 610 AD it became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (salat), and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran. As a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometers (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.


  • [At the sight of these two Jerusalems, the earthly and the heavenly, Jacob said]: 'The Jerusalem on earth is nothing, this is not the house that will be preserved for my children in all generations, but in truth that other house of God, that He builds with His own hands.'
  • [Prophet said:] This city hath been to me a provocation of Mine anger and of My fury from the day that they built it even unto this day.
    • Louis Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews volume IV, chapter V
  • Since your city is regarded with affection by the adherents of three great religions of mankind, and its soil has been consecrated by the prayers and the pilgrimages of devout people of these three religions for many centuries, therefore I do make known to you . . . that all sacred buildings will be maintained and protected according to the existing customs and beliefs of those who faiths are sacred
    • General Edmund Allenby cited in Encyclopedia Judaica, vol 4, p. 131
  • His majesty's Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing and non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.
    • British Foreign Secretary Lord Balfour letter to Baron Edward de Rothchild.
  • When the clock of the Mosk needs repairing, they are compelled, however reluctantly to employ a Frank. But in order to have a clean conscience in the commission of such an abominable piece of sacrilege as the admission upon the sacred premises, they adopt the following expedient. The mechanic selected being thoroughly purged from his uncleanness ablution . . . a certain formula of prayer and incantation is sung over him at the gate. This being satisfactorily concluded, he is considered as exorcised, not only of Christianity (or Judaism, as the case may be), but of humanity also; and is declared to be no longer a man but a donkey. He is then mounted upon the shoulders of the faithful, lest . . . the ground should be polluted by his footsteps; and being carried to the spot where his labours are required, he is set down upon matting within certain prescribed limits; and the operation being performed, he is carried back to the gate, and there, by certain other ceremonies, he is duly undonkeyfied and transmuted back into a man again.
    • J.T. Barclay as cited in Jerusalem Curiosities by Abraham Ezra Millgram
  • No man shall behave frivolously when standing near the eastern gate, which looks to the Holy of Holies: he shall not enter the temple mount with his cane, his shoes, his purse, or the dust on his feet, nor shall he use it as a short cut, still less shall he spit there.
    • Mishna (Berachot 9:5) cited by Arthur Herzberg, editor, Judaism, George Braziller, Inc. New York, 1961, pp. 163-164
  • Cá nesta Babilónia, donde mana
    matéria a quanto mal o mundo cria;
    cá onde o puro Amor não tem valia,
    que a Mãe, que manda mais, tudo profana;
    cá, onde o mal se afina e o bem se dana,
    e pode mais que a honra a tirania;
    cá, onde a errada e cega Monarquia
    cuida que um nome vão a desengana;
    cá, neste labirinto, onde a nobreza
    com esforço e saber pedindo vão
    às portas da cobiça e da vileza;
    cá neste escuro caos de confusão,
    cumprindo o curso estou da natureza.
    Vê se me esquecerei de ti, Sião!
    • Here in this Babylon, that’s festering
      forth as much evil as the rest of the earth;
      Here where true Love deprecates his worth,
      as his powerful mother pollutes everything.
      Here where evil is refined and good is cursed,
      and tyranny, not honor, has its way;
      Here where the Monarchy, in disarray,
      blindly attempts to mislead God, and worse.
      Here in this labyrinth, where Royalty,
      willingly, chooses to succumb
      before the Gates of Greed and Infamy;
      Here in this murky chaos and delirium,
      I carry out my tragic destiny,
      but never will I forget you, Jerusalem!
    • Luís de Camões, Cá nesta Babilónia, donde mana, translated by William Baer.
  • Pay attention, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Je·hosh′a·phat! Here is what Jehovah says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or be terrified because of this large crowd, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will be coming up by the pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley before the wilderness of Je·ru′el. 17 You will not need to fight this battle. Take your position, stand still, and see the salvation of Jehovah in your behalf. O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid or be terrified. Tomorrow go out against them, and Jehovah will be with you.’
  • One must weep ceaselessly over the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the restoration of the glory of King David, for that is the object of human perfection. If we do not have Jerusalem and the kingdom of the House of David, why should we have life? . . . Since our many transgressions have led to the Destruction and to the desolation of our glorious Temple and the loss of the kingdom of the House of David, the degree which we suffer the absence and the lack of good is known to all. Surely have we descended from life until death. And the converse is also true: "When the Lord restores the captivity of Zion," we shall ascend from death unto life. Certainly the heart of anyone who possesses the soul of a Jew is broken when he recalls the destruction of Jerusalem.
    • Jonathan Eibschutz cited by Arthur Herzberg, editor, Judaism, George Braziller, Inc. New York, 1961, pp. 163-164
  • We do not mourn properly over Jerusalem. Were we guilty of this transgression alone, it would be sufficient reason for the extension of the period of our Exile. In my opinion this is the most likely, most apparent and the strongest reason for all of the dreadful terrifying persecutions which have been fallen us in Exile, in all the places of our dispersion. We have been hotly pursued. We have not been granted rest among the nations with our humiliation, affliction and homelessness, because this sense of mourning has left our hearts. While becoming complacent in a land not ours, we have forgotten Jerusalem; we have not taken it to heart. Therefore, "Like one who is dead we have been forgotten," from generation to generation sorrow is added to our sorrow and our pain.
    • Jacob Emden cited by Arthur Herzberg, editor, Judaism, George Braziller, Inc. New York, 1961, pp. 163-164
  • JERUSALEM, the chief city of Palestine. Letters found at Tell el-Amarna in Egypt, written by an early ruler of Jerusalem, show that the name existed under the form Urusalim, i.e. “City of Salim” or “City of Peace,” many years before the Israelites under Joshua entered Canaan.
    • Encyclopedia Brittanica 1911, Vol. 13-14 HAR to ITA
The Dome of the Rock
The Tower of David
  • By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
    when we remembered Zion.
    There on the poplars
    we hung our harps,
    for there our captors asked us for songs,
    our tormentors demanded songs of joy;
    they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
    How can we sing the songs of the LORD
    while in a foreign land?
    If I forget you, Jerusalem,
    may my right hand forget its skill.
    May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth
    if I do not remember you,
    if I do not consider Jerusalem
    my highest joy.
  • The builder of Jerusalem is God, the outcast of Israel he will gather in... Praise God O Jerusalem, laud your God O Zion.
    • Psalms 147:2-12
  • For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
  • Common ground! Think of Jerusalem, the intersection where many trails met. A small village that became the birthplace for three religions - Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Why was this village so blessed? Because it provided a crossroads there different people met, different cultures, different civilizations could meet and find common ground. When people come together, flowers always flourish - the air is rich with the aroma of a new spring.
  • God knows I'm gonna/ Walk in Jerusalem/ Talk in Jerusalem/ Sing in Jerusalem/ Be in Jerusalem/ High above in Jerusalem when I die.
    • Mahalia Jackson, Walk in Jerusalem
  • Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the killer of the prophets and stoner of those sent forth to her,—how often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks together under her wings! But you people did not want it.
  • Julian thought to rebuild at an extravagant expense the proud Temple once at Jerusalem, and committed this task to Alypius of Antioch. Alypius set vigorously to work, and was seconded by the governor of the province; when fearful balls of fire, breaking out near the foundations, continued their attacks, till the workmen, after repeated scorchings, could approach no more: and he gave up the attempt.
    • (The Roman History of Ammianus Marcellinus, Book 23 Chap. 1 Line 3).
  • At the dawn, when the light of the sun first strikes on the cupola and the drum catches the rays, then is this edifice a marvelous site to behold and one such that in all Islam I have never seen its equal; neither have I heard tell of aught built in pagan times that could rival in grace this Dome of the Rock.
    • Mukadassi cited by Solomon Steckoll, The Temple Mount, London, Tom Stacey, Ltd., 1972, p. 31. (ACE 985)
  • What shall I say of this land . . . The more holy the place the greater the desolation. Jerusalem is the most desolate of all . . . There are about 2,000 inhabitants . . . but there are no Jews, for after the arrival of the Tartars, the Jews fled, and some were killed by the sword. There are now only two brothers, dyers, who buy their dyes from the government. At their place a quorum of worshippers meets on the Sabbath, and we encourage them, and found a ruined house, built on pillars, with a beautiful dome, and made it into a synagogue . . . People regularly come to Jerusalem, men and women from Damascus and from Aleppo and from all parts of the country, to see the Temple and weep over it. And may He who deemed us worthy to see Jerusalem in her ruins, grant us to see her rebuilt and restored, and the honor of the Divine Presence returned.
  • On a February day in the year A.D. 638 the Caliph Omar entered Jerusalem, riding upon a white camel. He was dressed in worn, filthy robes, and the army that followed him was rough and unkempt; but its discipline was perfect. At his side was the Patriarch Sophronius, as chief magistrate of the surrendered city. Omar rode straight to the site of the Temple of Solomon, whence his friend Mahomet had ascended into heaven. Watching him stand there, the Patriarch remembered the words of Christ and murmured through his tears: 'Behold the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet.
    • Steve Runciman, A History of The Crusades. Volume One: The First Crusade, Cambridge University Press, 1951, p. 3
  • The great mosque of Jerusalem, Al Masjid al Aksa, the " Further Mosque," derives its name from the traditional Night Journey of Muhammad, to which allusion is made in the words of the Kuran (xvii. 1): "I declare the glory of Him who transported His servant by night from the Masjid al Haram (the Mosque at Makkah) to the Masjid al Aksa (the Further Mosque) at Jerusalem" - the term "Mosque " being here taken to denote the whole area of the Noble Sanctuary, and not the Main building of the Aksa only, which, in the Prophet's days, did not exist.
According to the received account, Muhammad was on this occasion mounted on the winged steed called Al Burak "the Lightning" and, with the angel Gabriel for escort, was carried from Makkah (Mecca), first to Sinai, and then to Bethlehem, after which they came to Jerusalem. "And when we reached Bait al Makdis, the Holy City," so runs the tradition, "we came to the gate of the mosque (which is the Haram Area), and here Jibrail (Gabriel) caused me to dismount. And he tied up Al Burak to a ring, to which the prophets of old had also tied their steeds." (Ibn al Athir's Chronicle, ii. 37.) Entering the Haram Area by the gateway, afterwards known as the Gate of the Prophet, Muhammad and Gabriel went up to the Sacred Rock, which of old times had stood in the centre of Solomon's Temple; and in its neighbourhood meeting the company of the prophets, Muhammad proceeded to perform his prayer-prostrations in the assembly of his predecessors in the prophetic office Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and others of God's ancient apostles.
From the Sacred Rock Muhammad, accompanied by Gabriel, next ascended, by a ladder of light, up into heaven; and, in anticipation, was vouchsafed the sight of the delights of Paradise. Passing through the seven heavens, Muhammad ultimately stood in the presence of Allah, from whom he received injunctions as to the prayers his followers were to perform. Thence, after a while, he descended again to earth; and, alighting at the foot of the ladder of light, stood again on the Sacred Rock at Jerusalem. The return journey homeward was made after the same fashion - on the back of the steed Al Burak and the Prophet reached Makkah again before the night had waned. Such, in outline, is the tradition of the Prophet's Night Journey, which especially sanctifies the Rock and the Haram Area in the sight of all true believers.
After the capitulation of Jerusalem to 'Omar in 635 (A.H 14), that Khalif caused a mosque to be built on what was considered to be the ancient site of the Temple (or Masjid) of David. The traditional position of this site, 'Omar (as it is stated) verified, by the re-discovery of the Rock concealed under a dunghill from the description that had been given to him, 'Omar, by the Prophet, of the place where he had made his prayer prostrations in Jerusalem on the occasion of his Night-Journey.
  • Guy Le Strange, History of Jerusalem Under the Muslims, (From A.D. 650 to 1500), 1890.
  • Ten measures of beauty descended to the world, nine were taken by Jerusalem.
  • Whoever did not see Jerusalem in its days of glory, never saw a beautiful city in their life.
    • Talmud, Succah 51b
  • "Eternity" — this refers to Jerusalem.
    • Talmud, Berachot 58a
  • Even during the time of Jerusalem's stumbling, men of faith did not cease from [living] there.
    • Talmud, Shabbat 119b
  • There are three gates to Gehinam (purgatory) — one of them is in Jerusalem.
    • Talmud, Eruvin 19a
  • Jerusalem does not become impure through touching; Jerusalem will not be split by the tribes.
    • Talmud, Yoma 12a
  • Jerusalem was only destroyed because its inhabitants desecrated the Shabbat, they refrained from reciting the Morning and Evening Shema, the children in the Torah day schools wasted their learning time, because they were not shame faced (to sin), because they made the minors equal to the adults, because one did not rebuke another, because they embarrassed Torah Scholars.
    • Talmud, Shabbat 119b
  • Each and every acacia tree that the non-Jews removed from Jerusalem, will be restored to it by the Holy One, Blessed be He, in the future.
    • Talmud, Rosh Hashana 23a
  • Whoever mourns for Jerusalem will be meritorious and will see its rejoicing and all who do not mourn for Jerusalem will not see it's rejoicing.
    • Talmud, Taanit 30b
  • But the Jerusalem above is free, and she is our mother. For it is written: “Be glad, you barren woman who does not give birth; break into joyful shouting, you woman who does not have birth pains; for the children of the desolate woman are more numerous than those of her who has the husband.”
The view of Jerusalem is the history of the world
  • Gerusalem sovra due colli è posta
    D'impari altezza, e volti fronte a fronte:
    Va per lo mezzo suo valle interposta
    Che lei distingue, e l'un dall'altro monte.
    da tre lati ha malagevol costa:
    Per l'altro vassi, e non par che si monte.
    Ma d'altissime mura è più difesa
    La parte piana, e incontra Borea stesa.

    La Città dentro ha lochi, in cui si serba
    L'acqua che piove, e laghi e fonti vivi:
    Ma fuor la terra intorno è nuda d'erba,
    E di fontane sterile, e di rivi.
    Nè si vede fiorir lieta e superba
    D'alberi, e fare schermo ai raggj estivi;
    Se non se in quanto oltra sei miglia un bosco
    d'ombre nocenti orrido e fosco.

Ha da quel lato donde il giorno appare,
Del felice Giordan le nobil'onde.
E dalla parte occidental del mare
Mediterraneo le arenose sponde.
Verso Borea è Betel, ch'alzò l'altare
Al bue dell'oro, e la Samaria; e donde
Austro portar le suol piovoso nembo,
Betelem che 'l gran parto ascose in grembo.

    • Jerusalem is seated on two hills
      Of height unlike, and turned side to side,
      The space between, a gentle valley fills,
      From mount to mount expansed fair and wide.
      Three sides are sure imbarred with crags and hills,
      The rest is easy, scant to rise espied:
      But mighty bulwarks fence that plainer part,
      So art helps nature, nature strengtheneth art.

      The town is stored of troughs and cisterns, made
      To keep fresh water, but the country seems
      Devoid of grass, unfit for ploughmen's trade,
      Not fertile, moist with rivers, wells and streams;
      There grow few trees to make the summer's shade,
      To shield the parched land from scorching beams,
      Save that a wood stands six miles from the town,
      With aged cedars dark, and shadows brown.

      By east, among the dusty valleys, glide
      The silver streams of Jordan's crystal flood;
      By west, the Midland Sea, with bounders tied
      Of sandy shores, where Joppa whilom stood;
      By north, Samaria stands, and on that side
      The golden calf was reared in Bethel wood;
      Bethlem by south, where Christ incarnate was,
      A pearl in steel, a diamond set in brass.

    • Torquato Tasso, Jerusalem Delivered (1581), III, 55–57, tr. Edward Fairfax.
  • We know, it must be done,
    For God hath spoke the word,
    All Israel shall their Saviour own,
    To their first state restor’d:
    Re-built by his command,
    Jerusalem shall rise,
    Her temple on Moriah stand
    Again, and touch the skies.
    • Charles Wesley "A Wesley 'Zionist' Hymn? Charles Wesley's hymn, published in 1762 and included by John Wesley in his 1780 hymn-book, A Collection of Hymns for the use of the People called Methodists". The Wesley Fellowship. 2010-07-01. Archived from the original on 2014-07-05. Retrieved 2014-07-05.
  • If Jerusalem falls into the hands of the Muslims, Athens and Rome will be next. Thus, Jerusalem is the main front protecting the West. It is not a conflict over territory but rather an ideological battle, between the mentality of the liberated West and the ideology of Islamic barbarism. There has been an independent Palestinian state since 1946, and it is the kingdom of Jordan.
  • Let us never forget that Islam threatens not just Israel; Islam threatens the entire world. Without Judea and Samaria, Israel cannot protect Jerusalem. The future of the world depends on Jerusalem. If Jerusalem falls, Athens and Rome – and Paris, London and Washington – will be next.
  • This is the cause of your survival. I count it as my privilege to help you fight your battle. To that purpose I want to devote my life. I believe that the very existence of mankind is justified when it is based on the moral foundation of the Bible. Whoever dares lift a hand against you and your enterprise here should be fought against. Whether it is jealously, ignorance or perverted doctrine, such as have made your neighbors rise against you, or "politics" which make some of my countrymen support them, I shall fight with you against any of these influences. But remember that it is your battle. My part, which I say I feel to be a privilege, is only to help you.
    • Orde Wingate, cited by Michael Pragai, Faith and Fulfillment, p. 112 10. Time Magazine, August 16, 1948
  • Paul refers to the church, and indeed to individual Christians, as the ‘temple of the living God’ (1 Cor. 3:16, 6:19). To Western Christians, thinking anachronistically of the temple as simply the Jewish equivalent of a cathedral, the image is simply one metaphor among many and without much apparent significance. For a first-century Jew, however, the Temple had an enormous significance; as a result, when Paul uses such an image within twenty-five years of the Crucifixion (with the actual temple still standing), it is a striking index of the immense change that has taken place in his [Paul’s] thought. The Temple had been superseded by the Church. If this is so for the Temple, and in Romans 4 for the Land, then it must a fortiori be the case for Jerusalem, which formed the concentric circle in between those two in the normal Jewish worldview.
  • God’s house in Jerusalem was meant to be a ‘place of prayer for all the nations’ (Isaiah 56:7; Mark 11:17); but God would now achieve this through the new temple, which was Jesus himself and his people
    • N. T. Wright, "Jerusalem in the New Testament" (1994)
  • Today, we finally acknowledge the obvious: that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
  • Jerusalem was as Arab as Cairo or Baghdad, and the Zionist Jews (that is, the modern Jews) were as foreign to it as I was myself.
    • Vincent Sheean, Personal History. New York, 1935, p.381

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