Israel and the Jewish People's Connection to Jerusalem

In commemoration of the Ninth of Av, the Jewish holiday marking the destruction of the Temple, the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reviewed Israel's connection to Jerusalem in one of its email newsletters:

Claim: Jerusalem is of equal significance to Christians, Muslims, and Jews.

Response: Jerusalem is the Jewish people's holiest city. Though both Christians and Muslims have holy sites in Jerusalem, only the Jews see the city as their sole spiritual capital.
  1. The Jews are the only community that has continuously sought to maintain a presence in Jerusalem ever since King David first made it their capital 3,000 years ago.
  2. Jerusalem has never been the capital for anyone other than the Jewish people.
  3. Ancient artifacts and documents confirm Jerusalem as the ancient Israelite capital where the Holy Temple stood. Even the earliest Muslim names for Jerusalem refer to it as the city of the Temple of Solomon.
  4. Jerusalem is mentioned over 600 times throughout the Bible.
  5. Three times each day, observant Jews pray in the direction of the Temple Mount and pray for the rebuilding of the Temple; Muslims pray in the direction of Mecca.
See also:
Claim: Israel is violating international law by occupying east Jerusalem and should therefore withdraw immediately.

Response: Under international law, Israel's control over Jerusalem is legal.
  1. As a result of the war launched by Arab states against Israel in 1948, Transjordan seized the eastern half of Jerusalem. However, Transjordan's occupation of the city was illegal since no territory can be won legitimately in a war of aggression.
  2. In 1967, Arab armies again declared their aim to destroy the Jewish state. In response, Israel fought a defensive war in which it gained control of the Old City, the Temple Mount, and other areas of east Jerusalem.
  3. UN Security Council passed Resolution 242 in 1967 which calls for territorial compromise involving some, unspecified amount of land captured by Israel in 1967 in exchange for "secure and recognized boundaries" and "a just and lasting peace." Resolution 242 does not require that Israel withdraw from Jerusalem, or any other specific territory.
See also:
Claim: It is unjust for Israel to be the sole sovereign authority in Jerusalem.

Response: For the past 2,000 years, freedom of worship in Jerusalem has been severely limited - until 1967 when Israel established its sovereignty over the city.
  1. Regimes and their decrees:
    1. Roman Empire: Forbade Jewish residence in Jerusalem.
    2. Byzantine Empire: Forbade Jewish residence in Jerusalem.
    3. Ottoman Empire: Forbade Jews from bringing Torah scrolls and other prayer artifacts to the Western Wall.
    4. Jordanian Rule (1948-1967): Jews were marched out of the Old City as prisoners. Jewish homes were destroyed. No Jew was allowed to worship at the Western Wall, despite the armistice agreement which had specifically provided that right. Christians were also barred from buying land in the city.
     2.  After Israel established sovereignty in 1967, all of the city's holy sites became freely and equally accessible to worshippers of all faiths.
    1.  Christian presence in Jerusalem has undergone a rebirth, with the building of new churches as well as the preservation of holy sanctuaries.
    2.  Muslims enjoy an autonomous, religious administration for their holy sites, particularly the Waqf that presides over the Temple Mount.
To learn more, see:

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