"Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem..."

Psalm 122:6



“Who is there among you of all His people? His God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord God of Israel, (He is the God,) which is in Jerusalem.” (Ezra 1:3)

“For the Lord hath chosen Zion; He hath desired it for His habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; For I have desired it.” (Psalm 132:13-14)

“The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: He gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.” (Psalm 147:2)

“Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)

“I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. Our feet shall stand within thy gates, O Jerusalem. Jerusalem is builded as a city that is compacted together: Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord. For there are set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” (Psalm 122:1-6)

“If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.” (Psalm 137:5-6)

“The Lord shall bless thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy life. (Psalm 128:5)

“I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all His people, In the courts of the Lord’s house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord. (Psalm 116:18-19)

“Thy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us. Because of thy temple at Jerusalem shall kings bring presents unto thee. (Psalm 68:28-29)

“Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.” (Psalm 51:18)

“I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night: ye that make mention of the Lord, keep not silence, And give Him no rest, till He establishes, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth.” (Isaiah 62:6-7) 


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 religions- Judaism, 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.

During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent.

Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981 and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond its boundaries.

According to the 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.

These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st Millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish People.

The sobriquet of the holy city (is HaKodesh translated as the holy city) was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exotic 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 Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.

In Islamic tradition in 610 CE, it became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (Salah), 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 Sepulcher, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and later annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and later annexed by Jordan.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day-War and subsequently annexed it. Currently, Israel’s Basic Law refers to Jerusalem as a country’s “undivided capital.”

The International community has rejected the latter annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.

The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the city hosts no forge in embassies.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 208,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, which is sought by the Palestinian Authority as the capital of Palestine.

All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court.

Jerusalem is home to the Hebrew University and to the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has ranked consistently as Israel’s top tourist attraction for Israelis.

A city called Rusalim in the Execration texts of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (c. 19th BCE) is widely, but not universally, identified as Jerusalem.  Jerusalem is called Urusalim in the Amarna letters of Abdi-Heba (1330s BCE).

The name “Jerusalem” is variously etymologized to mean “foundation (Sumerian yeru, ‘settlement’/Semitic cry, ‘to found. to lay a cornerstone) of the god Shalem”, the god Shalem was thus the original tutelary deity of the Bronze Age city.

The form Yerushalem or Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Bible, in the book of Joshua. According to a Midrash, the name is a combination of Yhwh Yir’eh (“god will see it”, the name given by Abraham to the place where he began to sacrifice his son) and the town “Shalem”.

Shalim to Shalem was the name of the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion, whose name is based on the same root S-L-M from which the Hebrew word for “peace” is derived (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew).

The name thus offered itself to etymologization such as “The City of Peace”, “Abode of Peace”, “dwelling of peace” (“founded in safety), alternately “Vision of Peace” in some Christian authors.

The ending-ayim indicates the dual, thus leading to the suggestion that the name Yerushalayim refers to the fact that the city sits on two hills.

However, the pronunciation of the last syllable as-ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint.

The most ancient settlement of Jerusalem, founded as early as the Bronze Age on the hill above the Gihon Spring, was according to the Bible named Jebus.

Called the “Fortress of Zion” (metsudat Zion), it was renamed by David as the City of David and was known by his name in antiquity. Another name, “Zion”, biblical Land of Israel.

In Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly known as al-Quds and eating “The Holy” or “The Holy Sanctuary”.


Given the city’s central position in both Jewish nationalism (Zionism) and Palestinian nationalism, the selectivity required to summarize more than 5,000 years of inhabited history is often influenced by ideological bias or background.

For example, the Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Israeli nationalists (Zionists), whose discourage suggests that modern Jews descend from the Israelites and Maccabees, whilst the Islamic, Christian and other non-Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Palestine nationalism, whose discourse suggests that modern Palestinians descend from all the different peoples who have lived in the region.

As a result, both sides claim the history of the city has been politicized by the other in order to strengthen their relative claims to the city, and that this is borne out by different focuses the different writers place on the various events and eras in the city’s history.

Ancient period 

Ceramic evidence indicates occupation of the City of David, within present-day Jerusalem, as far back as the Copper Age (c. 4th millennium BCE), with evidence of a permanent settlement during the Early Bronze Age (c.3000-2800 BCE. 

Amarna letters. Some archaeologists, including Kathleen Kenyon, believe Jerusalem was founded by Northwest Semitic people with an organized settlement from around 2600 BCE. The first settlement lay on the Ophel ridge.

The biblical account first mentions Jerusalem (“Salem”) as ruled by Melchizedek, an ally of Abraham. in the late Bronze Age Jerusalem was the capital of an Egyptian vassal city-state, a modest settlement governing a few outlying villages and pastoral areas, with a small Egyptian garrison and ruled by appointees such a king Abdi-Heba, At the time of Seti and Ramesses ||, major construction took place as prosperity increased. 

This period, when Canaan formed part of the Egyptian empire corresponds in biblical accounts to Joshua’s invasion.

In the Bible, Jerusalem is defined as lying within territory allocated to the tribe of Benjamin though occupied by Jebusites.

David is said to have conquered these in the Siege of Jebus and transferred his capital from Hebron to Jerusalem which then became the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel, and one of its several religious centers.

The choice was perhaps dictated by the fact that Jerusalem did not form part of Israel’s tribal system, and was thus suited to serve as the center of its federation.

The opinion is divided over whether a Large Stone Structure and nearby Stepped Stone Structure may be identified with King David’s palace or dates to a later period.

According to the Bible, King David reigned for 40 years. The generally accepted estimate of the conciliation of this reign is 970 BCE. The Bible records that David was succeeded by his son Solomon, who built the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah.

Solomon’s Temple (later known as the First Temple), went on to play a pivot; role in Jewish history as the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.

On Solomon’s death, ten of the northern Tribes of Israel broke with the United Monarchy to form their own nations, kings, prophets, priests, traditions relating to religion, capitals, and temples in northern Israel.

The southern tribes, together with the Aaronid priesthood, remained in Jerusalem, with the city becoming the capital of the Kingdom of Judah.

Archeological remains from the ancient Israelite period also include Hezekiah’s Tunnel, an aqueduct built by Judean king Hezekiah and decorated with ancient Hebrew inscription, known as Siloam Inscription,

Broad Wall a defensive fortification built in the 8th century BCE, also by Hezekiah, Monolith of Silwan, Tomb of the Royal Steward, which were decorated with monumental Hebrew inscriptions, and Israelite Tower, remnants of ancient fortifications, built from large, sturdy rocks with carved cornerstones.

A huge water reservoir dating from this period was discovered in 2012 near Robinson’s Arch, indicating the existence of a densely built-up quarter across the area west of the Temple Mount during the Judean kingdom.

When the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, Jerusalem was strengthened by a great influx of refugees from the northern kingdom.

The First Temple period ended around 586 BCE, as the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and laid waste to Solomon’s Temple.

Classical antiquity
In 538 BCE, after 50 years of Babylonian captivity, Persian King Cyrus the Great invited the Jews to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple. Construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE, during the reign of Darius the Great, 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple.

In about 445 BCE, king Artaxerxes | of Persia issued a decree allowing the city and the walls to be rebuilt.

Jerusalem resumed its role as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship. From the Second Temple period, many ancient Jewish tombs have been discovered in Jerusalem.

Among them, The Tomb of Simon the Temple Builder, discovered north of Old City contains human remains in ossurt decorated by Aramaic inscription which reads “Simon the Temple Builder.”

The Tomb of Abba, also located north of the Old City contains an Aramaic inscription with Paleo-Hebrew letters reading: “I, Abba, son of the priest Elaez(ar), son of Aaron the high (priest), Abba, the oppressed and the persecuted, who was born in Jerusalem, and went into exile into Babylonian and brought (back to Jerusalem) Mattathi (ah), son of Jud(ah), and buried him in a cave which I bought by deed” The Tomb of Benei Hezir located in Kidron Valley is decorated by monumental Doric columns and Hebrew inscription, identifying it as the tombs of Second Temple priests.

The Tombs of the Sanhedrin is an underground complex of 63 rock-cut tombs looted in a public park in the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sanhedria.

These tombs used probably by members of Sanhedrin inscribed by ancient Hebrew and Aramaic writings are dated between 100 BCE and 100 CE.

When Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Jerusalem and Judea came under Macedonian control, eventually falling to the Ptolemaic dynasty under Ptolemy. In 198 BCE, Ptolemy V lost Jerusalem and Judea to the Seleucids under Antiochus |||.

The Seleucid attempt to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized city-state Antiochus Epiphanies, and their establishment of the Hasmonean Kingdom in 152 BCE with Jerusalem again as its capital.

In 63 BCE, Pompey the Great intervened in a Hasmonean struggle for the throne and captured Jerusalem, extending the influence of the Roman Republic over Judea.

Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem
(David Roberts, 1850) 

As Rome became stronger it installed Herod as a Jewish client king. Herod the Great, as he was known, devoted himself to developing and beautifying the city.

He built walls, towers, and palaces, expanded the Temple Mount, buttressing the courtyard with blocks of stone weighing up to 100 tons.

Under Herod, the area of the Temple Mount doubles in size. Shortly after Herod’s death, in 6 CE Judea came under direct Roman rule as the Judaea Province, although Herod’s descendants through Agrippa || remained client kings of neighboring territories until 96 CE.

Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region began to be challenged with the First Jewish-Roman War, which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Jerusalem once again served as the capital of Judea during the three-year rebellion known as the Bar Kokhba revolt, beginning in 132 CE. 

The Romans succeeded in suppressing the revolt in 135 CE. Emperor Hadrian combined Judea Providence with neighboring provinces to drear Syria Palestina, erasing the name of Judea, romanized the city, renaming it Aelia Capitolina, and banned the Jews from entering it on pain of death, except for one day each year (9 Ab).

These anti-Jewish measures which affected also Jewish Christians were taken to ensure ‘the complete and permanent secularization of Jerusalem.’ The enforcement of the ban on Jews entering Aelia Capitolina continued until the 4th century CE. 

In the five centuries following the Bar Kokhba revolt, the city remained under Roman then Byzantine rule. During the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine constructed Christian sites in Jerusalem, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

Jerusalem reached a peak in size and population at the end of the Second Temple Period when the city covered square kilometers (0.8 sq mi.) and had a population of 200,000. 

From the days of Constantine until the 7th century, Jews were banned from Jerusalem. The eastern continuation of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, maintained control of the city for years.

Within the span of a few decades, Jerusalem shifted from Byzantine to Persian rule and returned to Roman-Byzantine dominion once more. 

Following Sassanid Khosrau ||’s early 7th-century push into Byzantine, advancing through Syria, Sassanid Generals Shahrbaraz and Shanin attacked the Byzantine-controlled city of Jerusalem.

They were aided by the Jews of Palestina Prima, who had risen up against the Byzantines. 

In the Siege of Jerusalem (614), after 21 days of relentless siege warfare, Jerusalem was captured. The Byzantine chronicles relate that the Sassanid army and the Jews slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians in the city, many at the Mamilla Pool, and destroyed its Byzantine monuments and churches, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

The episode has been the subject of much debate between historians. The conquered city would remain in Sassanid hands for some fifteen years until the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reconquered it in 629.

Middle Ages

Byzantine Jerusalem was conquered by the Arab armies of Umar ibn al-Khattab in 634. 

Among Muslims of Islam’s earliest era, it was referred to as Madinat Bayt al-Maqdis (“City of the Temple”) which was restricted to the Temple Mount.

The rest of the city”…was called IIilya, reflecting the Roman name given the city following the destruction of 70 c.e. Aelia Capitolina”. 

Later the Temple Mount became known as al-Haram al-Sharif”The Noble City”. 

The Islamization of Jerusalem began in the first year A.H. (620 CE) when Muslims were instructed to face the city while performing their daily prostration and. according to Muslim religious tradition, Muhammad’s night journey and ascension to heaven took place, After 16 months, the direction of prayer was changed to Mecca. 

In 638 the Islamic Caliphate extended its dominion to Jerusalem. With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.

The Rashidun caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab signed a treaty with Monophysite Christian Patriarch Sophronuis, assuring him that Jerusalem’s Christian holy places and population would be protected under Muslim rule. 

Christian-Arab tradition records that when led to pray, pray for the church so that Muslims would not request conversion of the church to a mosque. 

He prayed outside the church, where the Mosque of Umar (Omar) stands to this day, opposite the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. 

According to the Gallic bishop Arculf, who lived in Jerusalem from 679 to 688, the Mosque of Umar was a rectangular wooden structure built over ruins that could accommodate 3,000 worshipers. 

When the Muslims went to Bayt Al-Maqdes for the first time, They searched for the site of the Far Away Holy Mosque (Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa) that was mentioned in the Quran and Hadith according to Islamic beliefs.

Contemporary Arabic and Hebrew sources say the site was full of rubbish, and that Arabs and Jews cleaned it. The Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik commissioned the construction of the Dome of the Rock in the late 7th century.

The 10th-century historian al-Muqaddasi writes that And al-Malik built the shrine in order to compete in grandeur with Jerusalem’s monumental churches.

Over the next four hundred years, Jerusalem’s prominence diminished as Arab powers in the region jockeyed for control. 

A messianic Karaite movement to gather in Jerusalem took place at the turn of the millennium, leading to a “Golden Age” of Karaite scholarship there, which was only terminated by the Crusades. 

In 1099, The Fatimid ruler expelled the native Christian population before Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders, who massacred most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants when they took the defended city by assault, after a period of siege, and left the city emptied of people; later the Crusaders created the Kingdom of Jerusalem. 

The city had been virtually emptied and recolonized by a variegated inflow of Greeks, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Georgians, Armenians, Syrians, Egyptians, Nestorians, Maronites, Copts, and others, to block the return of the surviving Muslims and Jews. 

The north-eastern quarter was repopulated with Eastern Christians from the Transjordan. 

As a result, by 1099 Jerusalem’s population had climbed back to some 30,000. In 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city. 

Under the terms of surrender, once ransomed, 60,000 Franks were expelled. The Eastern Christian populace was permitted to stay.

Under the Ayyubid dynasty of Saladin, a period of huge investment began in the construction of houses, markets, public baths, and pilgrim hostels as well as the establishment of religious endowments.

However, for most of the 13th century, Jerusalem declined to the status of a village due to the city’s fall of strategic value and Ayyubid internecine struggles. 

In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tartars, who decimated the city’s Christian population and drove out the Jews. 

The Khwarezmian Tartars were driven out by the Ayyubids in 1247. 

From 1250 to 1517, Jerusalem was ruled by the Mamluks. During this period of time, many clashes occurred between the Mamluks on one side and the crusaders and the Mongols on the other side. 

The area also suffered from many earthquakes and the black plague. Some European Christian’s presence was maintained in the city by the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. 

16th-19th century-Ottoman rule

In 1517, Jerusalem and environs fell to the Ottoman Turks, who generally remained in control until 1917. 

Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City. 

Throughout much Ottoman rule, Jerusalem remained a provincial, if religiously important center, and did not straddle the main trade route between Damascus and Cairo. 

The English reference book Modern history or the present state of all nations written in 1744 stated that “Jerusalem is still reckoned the capital city of Palestine.” 

The Ottoman brought many innovations: modern postal systems run by the various consulates and regular stagecoach and carriage services were among the first signs of modernization in the city. 

In the mid 19th century, the Ottomans constructed the first paved road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and by 1892 the railroad had reached the city. 

With the annexation of Jerusalem by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1831, foreign missions and consulates began to establish a foothold in the city. 

In 1836, Ibrahim Pasha allowed Jerusalem’s Jewish residents to restore four major synagogues, among them the Hurva. In the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, Qasim al-Ahmad led his forces from Nablus and attacked Jerusalem, aided by the Abu Ghosh clan, entered the city on 31 May 1834. 

The Christians and Jews of Jerusalem were subjected to attacks. Ibrahim’s Egyptian army routed Qasim’s forces in Jerusalem the following month. 

Ottoman rule was reinstated in 1840, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in Jerusalem, and Jews from Algeria and North Africa began to settle in the city in growing numbers. In the 1840s and 1850s, the international powers began a tug-of-war in Palestine as they sought to extend their protection over the region’s religious minorities, a struggle carried out mainly through consular representatives in Jerusalem. 

According to the Prussian consul, the population in 1845 was 16,410 with 7,120 Jews 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers, and 100 Europeans. 

The volume of Christian pilgrims increased under the Ottomans, doubling the city’s population around Easter time. 

In the 1860s, new neighborhoods began to develop outside the Old city walls to house pilgrims and relieve the intense overcrowding and poor sanitation inside the city. 

The Russian Compound and Mishkenot Sha;ananim were founded in 1860, followed by many others included Mahane Israel (1868), Nahalat Shiva(1877), Abu Tor (the 1880s), American-Swedish Colony (1882), Yemin Moshe (1891), and Mamilla, Wadi al-Joz around the turn of the century.

In 1867 an American Missionary reports an estimated population of Jerusalem of ‘above’ 15,000, with 4,000 to 5,000 Jews and 6,000 Muslims. 

Every year there were 5,000 to 6,000 Russian Christian Pilgrims. In 1874 Jerusalem became the center of a special administrative district, independent of the Syria Vilayet and under the direct authority of Istanbul called the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. 

Until the 1880s there were no formal orphanages in Jerusalem, as families generally took care of each other.

In 1881 the Diskin Orphanage was founded in Jerusalem with the arrival of Jewish children orphaned by a Russian pogrom. Other orphanages founded in Jerusalem at the beginning of the 20th century were Zion Blumenthal Orphanages. (1900) and (1902).

1917-1948- British Mandate

In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city, and in 1922, the League of Nations at the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer the Mandate for Palestine, the neighboring mandate of Transjordan to the east across the River Jordan, and the Iraq Mandate beyond it. 

From 1922 to 1948 the total population of the city rose from 52,000 to 165,000 with two-thirds of Jews and one-third of Arabs (Muslims and Christians). 

The situation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine was not quiet. In Jerusalem, in particular, Arab riots occurred in 1920 and 1929. 

Under the British, new garden suburbs were built in the western and northern parts of the city, and institutions of higher learning such as the Hebrew University were founded.

1948-1967- Jordan/Israeli rule

As the British Mandate for Palestine was expiring, the 1947 UN Partition Plan recommended: “the creation of a special international regime in the City of Jerusalem, constituting it as a corpus separatum under the administration of the UN.” 

The International regime (which also included the city of Bethlehem) was to remain in force for a period of ten years, whereupon a referendum was to be held in which the residents were to decide the future regime of their city.

However, this plan was not implemented, as the 1948 war erupted, while the British withdrew from Palestine and Israel declared its independence. 

In violation of the Partition Plan, Israel conquered the area which later would become west Jerusalem, along with major parts of the Arab territory allotted to the future Arab State; Jordan took control of East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank. 

The war led to the displacement of Arab and Jewish populations in the city. 

The 1,500 residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City were expelled and a few hundred taken prisoner when the Arab Legion captured the quarter on 28 May. 

Arab residents of Ktamon, Talbiya, and the German Colony were driven from their homes. 

By the end of the war, Israel had control of 12 of Jerusalem’s 15 Arab residential quarters. An estimated minimum of 30,000 people had become refugees. 

The war of 1948 resulted in Jerusalem being divided, with the old walled city lying entirely on the Jordanian side of the line. A no man’s land between East and West Jerusalem came into being in November 1948: 

Moshe Dayan, commander of the Israeli forces in Jerusalem, met with his Jordanian counterpart Abdullah el-Tell in a deserted house in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood and marked out their respective positions: Israel’s position in red and Jordan’s in green. 

This rough map, which was not meant as an official one, became the final line in the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which divided the city and left Mount Scopus as an Israeli exclave inside East Jerusalem. 

Barbed wire and concrete barriers ran down the center of the city, passing close by Jaffa Gate on the western side of the old walled city, and a crossing point was established at Mandelbaum Gate slightly to the north of the old walled city. Military skirmishes frequently threatened the ceasefire. 

After the establishment of the State of Israel, Jerusalem has declared its capital city. 

Jordan formally annexed East Jerusalem in 1950, subjecting it to Jordanian law, and in 1953 declared it the “second capital” of Jordan.

Only the United Kingdom and Pakistan formally recognized such annexation, which, in regard to Jerusalem, was on a de facto basis. Also, it is dubious that Pakistan recognized Jordan’s annexation. 

After 1948, since the old walled city in its entirely was to the wast of the armistice line, Jordan was able to take control of all the holy places therein, and contrary to the terms of the armistice agreement, denied Jews access to Jewish holy sites, many of which were desecrated. Jordan allowed only very limited access to Christian holy sites. 

Of the 58 synagogues in the Old City, half were either razed or converted to stables and hen-houses over the course of the next 19 years, including the Hurva and the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue. 

The Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives was desecrated, with gravestones used to build roads and latrines. Israeli authorities razed many ancient tombs in the ancient Muslim Mamilla Cemetery in West Jerusalem to facilitate the creation of a parking lot and public lavatories in 1964. 

Many other historic and religiously significant buildings were demolished and replaced by modern structures. 

During this period, the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa underwent major renovations. 

The Jewish Quarter became known as Harat al Sharaf and was resettled with refugees from the 1948 war. 

In 1966 the Jordanian authorities relocated 500 of them to the Shuaf’at refugee camp as part of plans to redevelop the area.

From 1967-Israeli rule

In 1967, despite Israeli pleas that Jordan remains neutral during the Six-Day War, Jordanian forces attacked Israeli-held West Jerusalem on the war’s second day. 

After hand-to-hand fighting between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers on the Temple Mount, the Israel Defense Forces captured East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank. 

East Jerusalem, along with some nearby West Bank territory, was subsequently annexed by Israel, as were the city’s Christian and Muslim holy sites. 

On 27 June 1967, a few weeks after the war ended, Israel extended its law and jurisdiction to East Jerusalem and some surrounding areas, incorporating it into the Jerusalem Municipality. 

Although at the time Israel informed the United Nations that its measures constituted and municipal integration rather than annexation, later rulings by the Israeli Supreme Court upheld the government’s view that East Jerusalem had become part of Israel. Israel conducted a census of Arab residents in the areas annexed. 

Residents were given permanent residency status and the option of applying for Israeli citizenship. Jewish and Christian access to the holy sites the old walled city was restored. Israel left the Temple Mount under the jurisdiction of an Islamic waqf but opened the Western Wall to Jewish access.

The Moroccan Quarter, which was located adjacent to the Western Wall, was evacuated and razed to make a way for a plaza for those visiting the wall. 

On 18 April 1968, an expropriation order by the Israeli Ministry of Finance more than doubled the size of the Jewish Quarter, evicting its Arab residents and seizing over 700 buildings of which only 105 belonged to pre-1948 Jewish inhabitants. 

The old quarter was thus extended into the Mughrabi Hadrat Abu Sa’ud, and other quarters steeped in Arab and Palestinian history. 

The order designated these areas for public use but was intended for Jews alone. The government offered 200 Jordanian dinars to each displaced Arab family.

After the Six-Day War population of Jerusalem increased by 196% The Jewish population grew by 155% while the Arab population grew by 314%. The population of the Jewish population fell from 74% in 1967 to 72% in 1980, to 68% in 2000, and to 64% in 2010. 

Israeli Agriculture Minister Ariel Sharon proposed building a ring of Jewish and prevent it from becoming part of an urban Palestinian bloc stretching from Bethlehem to Ramallah. On 2 October 1977, the Israeli cabinet approved the plan, and seven neighborhoods were subsequently built on the city’s eastern edges. 

They became known as the Ring Neighborhoods. Other Jewish neighborhoods were built within East Jerusalem, and Israeli Jews also settled in Arab neighborhoods. 

The annexation of East Jerusalem was met with international criticism. The Israeli Foreign Ministry disputes that the annexation of Jerusalem was a violation of international law.

A poll conducted by Palestinian Center for Public Opinion and American Pechter Middle East Polls for the Council on Foreign Relations, among East Jerusalem Arab residents in 2011 revealed that 39% of East Jerusalem Arab residents would prefer Israeli citizenship contrary to 31% who opted for Palestinian citizenship. 

According to the poll, 40% of Palestinian residents would prefer to leave their neighborhoods if they would be placed under Palestinian rule.

Political status

International status

While the international community regards East Jerusalem, including the entire Old City part of the occupied Palestinian territories, yet neither part, West or East Jerusalem, is recognized as part of the territory of Israel or the State of Palestine. 

Under the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine passed by the UN in 1947, Jerusalem was envisaged to become a corpus separatum administered by the United Nations. In the war of 1948, the western part of the city was occupied by forces of the nascent state of Israel, while the eastern part was occupied by Jordan. 

The international community largely considered the legal status of Jerusalem to derive from the partition plan, and correspondently refuses to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the city.

Status under Israeli rule

Following the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel extended its jurisdiction and administration over East Jerusalem establishing new municipal borders. 

In 2010, Israel approved legislation giving Jerusalem the highest national priority status in Israel. The law prioritized construction throughout the city and offered grants and tax benefits to residents to make housing. 

Infrastructure, education, employment, business, tourism, and cultural events more affordable. 

Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon said that the bill sent “a clear, unequivocal political message that Jerusalem will not be divided”, and that: all those within the Palestinian and international community who expect the current Israeli government to accept any demands regarding Israel’s sovereignty over its capital are mistaken and misleading”. 

The status of the city, and especially its holy places, remains a core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

The Israeli government has approved building plans in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City in order to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, alleging that the 2,500-year-old Western Wall was constructed as part of a mosque. 

Palestinians regard Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine, and the city’s borders have been the subject of bilateral talks. 

A team of experts assembled by Ehud Barak in 2000 concluded that the city must be divided since Israel had failed to achieve any of its national aims there. 

A poll taken at the same time indicated that 65-70% of the public regard it as a divided city, and 56% would accept a partition. 

On the other hand, a poll conducted in June 2013 found 74% of Israeli Jews rejected the idea of a Palestinian capital in any portion of Jerusalem, although 72% of the public regarded it as a divided city. 

A strong longing for peace is symbolized by the Peace Monument (with farming tools made out of scrap weapons), facing the Old City wall near the former Israeli-Jordanian border and quoting from the book of Isaiah in Arabic and Hebrew.

Jerusalem as capital

Capital of Israel

On 5 December 1949, Israel’s first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, proclaimed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and since then all branches of the Israeli government-legislative, judicial, and executive-have resided there, except for the Ministry of Defense, located at HaKirya in Tel-Aviv. 

At the time of the proclamation, Jerusalem was divided between Israel and Jordan and thus only West Jerusalem was proclaimed Israel’s capital. In July 1980, Israel passed the Jerusalem Law as Basic Law. The law declared Jerusalem the “complete and united” capital of Israel Ironically, the “Basic Law: 

Jerusalem, Capital of Israel” is the main reason for the international community not to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. 

In an unusually quick action, the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 478 on 20 August 1980, which declared that the Basic Law is “a violation of international law”, is “null and void and must be rescinded forthwith”. Member states were called upon to withdraw their diplomatic representation from Jerusalem. 

Following the resolution, 22 of the 24 countries that previously had their embassy in (West) Jerusalem relocated them to Tel-Aviv, where many embassies already resided prior to Resolution 478. 

Costa Rica and San Salvador followed in 2006. Currently, there are no embassies located within the city limits of Jerusalem, although there are embassies in Mevaseret Zion, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, and four consulates in the city itself. 

In 1995, the United States Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, which required, subject to conditions, that its embassy is moved from Tel-Aviv to Jerusalem. However, U.S. presidents have argued that Congressional resolutions regarding the status of Jerusalem are merely advisory. 

The Constitution reserves foreign relations as executive power, and as such, the United States embassy is still Tel Aviv. Due to the non-recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, some non-Israeli press uses Tel Aviv as a metonym for Israel. 

On 28 October 2009, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned that Jerusalem must be the capital of both Israel and Palestine if peace is to be achieved.

Capital of Palestine

The Palestinian National Authority views East Jerusalem as occupied territory according to United Nations Security Council Resolution 242. 

The Palestinian Authority claims Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif, as the capital of the State of Palestine, The PLO claims that West Jerusalem is also subject to permanent status negotiations. 

However, it has stated that it would be willing to consider alternative solutions, such as making Jerusalem an open city. 

The PLO’s current position is that East Jerusalem, as defined by the pre-1967 municipal boundaries, shall be the capital of Palestine and West Jerusalem the capital of Israel, with each state enjoying full sovereignty over its respective part of the city and with its own municipality. 

A joint development council would be responsible for coordinated development. 

Some states, such as Russia and China, recognize the Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital. UN General Assembly resolution 58/292 affirms that the Palestinian people have the right to sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

Government precinct and national institutions

Many national institutions of Israel are located in Kiryat HaMemshala in Givat Ram in Jerusalem as a part of the Kiryat HaLeom project which is intended to create a large district that will house most government agencies and national cultural institutions. 

Some government buildings are located in Kiryat Menachem Begin. The city is home to the Knesset, the Supreme Court, the Bank of Israel, the National Headquarters of the Israel Police, the official residences of the President and Prime Minister, the Cabinet, and all ministries except for the Ministry of Defense (which is located in central Tel Aviv’s HaKirya district) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (which is located in the Tel Aviv suburb of Rishon Lezion, nearby Beit Dagan). 

Prior to the creation of the State of Israel, Jerusalem served as the administrative capital of the British Mandate for Palestine, which included present-day Israel and Jordan. 

From 1949 until 1967, West Jerusalem served as Israel’s capital but was not recognized as such internationally because UN General Assembly Resolution 194 envisaged Jerusalem as an international city. 

As a result of the Six-Day War in 1967, the while if Jerusalem came under Israeli control. 

On 27 June 1967, the government of Levi-Eshkol extended Israeli law and jurisdiction to East Jerusalem but agreed that administration of the Temple Mount compound would be maintained by the Jordanian Waqf, under the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments. 

In 1988, Israel ordered the closure of Orient House home of the Arab Studies Society, but also the headquarters of the Palestine Liberation Organization, for security reasons. 

The building reopened in 1992 as a Palestinian guesthouse. The Oslo Accords stated that the final status of Jerusalem would be determined by negotiations with Palestinian Authority. 

The accords banned any official Palestinian presence in the city until a final peace agreement but provided for the opening of a Palestinian trade office in East Jerusalem. the Palestinian Authority regards East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state. 

President Mahmoud Abbas has said that any agreement that did not include East Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine would be unacceptable. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has similarly stated that Jerusalem would remain the undivided capital of Israel. 

Due to its proximity to the city, especially the Temple Mount, Abu Dis, a Palestinian suburb of Jerusalem, has been proposed as the future capital of a Palestinian state by Israel. 

Israel has not incorporated Abu Dis within its security wall around Jerusalem. 

The Palestinian Authority has built a possible future parliament building for the Palestinian Legislative Council in the town, and its Jerusalem Affairs Offices are all located in Abu Dis.

Municipality of Jerusalem

The Jerusalem City Council is a body of 31 elected members headed by the mayor, who serves a five-year term and appoints eight deputies. 

The former mayor of Jerusalem, Uri Lupolianski, was elected in 2003. In the November 2008 city elections, Nir Barkat came out as the winner and is now the mayor.

Apart from the mayor and his deputies, City Council members receive no salaries and work on a voluntary basis. The longest-serving Jerusalem mayor was Teddy Kollek, who spent 28 years six consecutive terms in office. 

Most of the meetings of the Jerusalem City Council are private, but each month, it holds a session that is open to the public. 

Within the city council, religious political parties form an especially powerful faction, accounting for the majority of its seats. the headquarters of the Jerusalem Municipality and the mayor’s office are at Safra Square (Kikar Safra) on Jaffa Road. 

The municipal complex, comprising two modern buildings and ten renovated historic buildings surrounding a large plaza, opened in 1993 moved from the Jerusalem Historical City Hall Building. 

The city falls under the Jerusalem District, with Jerusalem as the district’s capital.


Mount of Olives

Jerusalem is situated on the southern spur of a plate in the Judean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives (East) and Mount Scopus (North East). 

The elevation of the Old City is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft). The whole of Jerusalem is surrounded by valleys and dry riverbeds (wadis). 

The Kidron, Hinnom, and Tyropoeon Valleys intersect in an area just south of the Old City of Jerusalem. The Kidron Valley runs to the east of the Old City and separates the Mount of Olives from the city proper. 

Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine associated in biblical eschatology with the concept of Gehenna or Hell. 

The Tyropoeon Valley commenced in the northwest near the Damascus Gate, ran south-southeasterly through the center of the Old City down the Pool of Siloam, and divided the lower part into two hills, the Temple Mount to the east, and the rest of the city to the west (the lower and the upper cities 


The Jerusalem College of Technology, founded in 1969, combines training in engineering and other high-tech industries with a Jewish studies program. it is one of many schools in Jerusalem, from elementary school and up, that combine secular and religious studies. 

Numerous religious educational institutions and Yeshivot, including some of the most prestigious yeshivas, among them the Brisk, Chevron, Midrash Shmuel, and Mir, are based in the city, with the Mir Yeshiva claiming to be the largest. 

There were nearly 8,000 twelfth-grade students in Hebrew-language schools during the 2003-2004 school year. 

However, due to the large portion of students in Haredi Jewish frameworks, only fifty-five percent of twelfth graders took matriculation exams (Bagrut) and only thirty-seven percent were eligible to graduate. 

Unlike public schools, many Haredi schools do not prepare students to take standardized tests. 

To attract more university students to Jerusalem, the city has begun to offer a special package of financial incentives and housing subsidies to students who rent apartments in downtown Jerusalem.


Schools for Arabs in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel have been criticized for offering a lower quality education than those catering to Israeli Jewish students. 

While many schools in the heavily Arab East Jerusalem are filled to capacity and there have been complaints of overcrowding, the Jerusalem Municipality is currently building over a dozen new schools in the city’s Arab neighborhoods. Schools in Ras el-Amud and Umm Lison opened in 2008. 

In March 2007, the Israeli government approved a 5-year plan to build 8,000 new classrooms in the city, 40 percent in the Arab sector and 28 percent in the Haredi sector. 

A budget of 4.6 billion shekels was allocated for this project. In 2008, Jewish British philanthropists donated $3 million for the construction of schools in Arab East Jerusalem. 

Arab high school students take the Bugrut matriculation exams, so that much of their curriculum parallels that of other Israeli high schools and includes certain Jewish subjects.


The two most popular sports are football (soccer) and basketball. Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is one of the most well-known in Israel. 

Fans include political figures who often attend its games. Jerusalem’s other major football team, and one of Beitar’s top rivals is Hapoel Jerusalem F.C. 

Whereas Beitar has been Israel State Cup champion seven times, Hapoel has won the Cup only once. Beitar has won the top league six times, while Hapoel has never succeeded. 

Beitar plays in the more prestigious Ligat HaAl, while Hapoel is in the second division Liga Leumit. Since its opening in 1992, Teddy Kollek Stadium has been Jerusalem’s primary football stadium, with a capacity of 21,600. 

The most popular Palestinian football club is Jabal Al Mukaber (since 1976) which plays in West Bank Premier League. 

The club hails from Mount Scopus at Jerusalem, part of the Asian Football Confederation, and plays at the Faisal Al-Husseini International Stadium at Al-Ram, across the West Bank Barrier. 

In basketball, Hapoel Jerusalem plays in the top division. The club has won the State Cup three times, and the ULEB Cup in 2004. 

The Jerusalem Marathon, established in 2011, is an international marathon race held annually in Jerusalem in the month of March. 

The full 42-kilometers race begins at the Knesset, passes through Mount Scopus and the Old City’s Armenian Quarter, and concludes at Sacher Park. 

In 2012 the Jerusalem Marathon drew 15,000 runners, including 1,500 from fifty countries outside Israel.

High-rise construction

Jerusalem has traditionally had a low-rise skyline. About 18 tall buildings were built at different times in the downtown area when there was no clear policy over the matter. 

One of them, Holyland Tower 1, Jerusalem’s tallest building, is a skyscraper by international standards, rising 32 stories. Holyland Tower 2, which has been approved for construction, will reach the same height. 

A new master plan for the city will see many high-rise buildings, including skyscrapers, built in certain, designated areas of downtown Jerusalem. 

Under the plan, towers will line Jaffa Road and King George Street. One of the proposed towers along King George Street, the Migdal Merkaz HaYekum, is planned as a 65-story building, which would make it one of the tallest buildings in Israel. 

At the entrance to the city, near the Jerusalem Chords Bridge and the Central Bus Station, twelve towers rising between 24 and 33 stories will be built, as part of a complex that will also include an open square and an underground train station serving a new express line between Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, and will be connected by brigades and underground tunnels.

Eleven of the skyscrapers will be either office or apartment buildings, and one will be a 2,000-room hotel.

The complex is expected to attract many businesses from Tel-Aviv, and become the city’s main business hub. 

In addition, a complex for the city’s courts and the prosecutor’s office will be built, as well as new buildings for Central Zionist Archives and Israel State Archives. 

The skyscrapers built throughout the city are expected to contain public space, shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, and it has been speculated that this may lead to a revitalization of downtown Jerusalem. 

  The US embassy was officially opened in Jerusalem on May 14, 2018, coinciding with the 70th anniversary of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. The location of the relocated embassy is at the former site of its consulate general in the Arnona neighborhood, in West Jerusalem.