Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Jerusalem: crossroads city holy to three religions

Jerusalem is a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is one of the oldest cities, says Wikipedia.

Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Jewish tradition since, according to the Hebrew Bible, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city.[10]

In Christian tradition, Jerusalem has been a holy city since, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified there, possibly in c. 33 CE,[11][12][13] and 300 years later Saint Helena identified the pilgrimage sites of Jesus' life.

In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city.[14][15] In Islamic tradition in 610 CE it became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (Salah),[16] and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, according to the Quran.

Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

"Zion", initially referred to a distinct part of the city, but later came to signify the city as a whole and to represent the biblical Land of Israel.

The Bible records that David was succeeded by his son Solomon,[76] who built the Holy Temple on Mount Moriah. Solomon's Temple (later known as the First Temple), went on to play a pivotal role in Jewish history as the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.

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.

The exodus, or diaspora, of Jewish peoples took place largely during the period of Roman rule.

In the 1890's the Jews in Europe began to discuss a homeland for Jewish people. Those who liked this movement were called Zionists.

Zionists decided to get land in Palestine by purchasing the acreage from the Ottoman Turkish rulers - the people who owned the Mid East.

In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city,[140] and in 1922, the League of Nations at the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer the Mandate for Palestine, the neighbouring 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).[141] The situation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine was not quiet. In Jerusalem, in particular, Arab riots occurred in 1920 and in 1929.

Today Jerusalem has a population of 747,600—64% Jewish, 32% Muslim, and 2% Christian.

While some Israelis see Jerusalem as poor, rundown and riddled with religious and political tension, the city has been a magnet for Palestinians, offering more jobs and opportunity than any city in the West Bank or Gaza Strip. Palestinian officials have encouraged Arabs over the years to stay in the city to maintain their claim.[212][213] Palestinians are attracted to the access to jobs, healthcare, social security, other benefits, and quality of life Israel provides to Jerusalem residents.

Jerusalem has been sacred to Judaism for roughly 3000 years, to Christianity for around 2000 years, and to Islam for approximately 1400 years. The 2000 Statistical Yearbook of Jerusalem lists 1204 synagogues, 158 churches, and 73 mosques within the city.

Aramaic: language of Jesus of Nazareth; it pre-dates both Hebrew and Arabic.