(Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם (audio) (help•info), Yerushaláyim, ISO 259-3 Yrušalaym, “Abode of Peace”; Arabic: القُدس (audio) (help•info), al-Quds [al-Sharif], “The Holy Sanctuary”)[ii] is the capital of Israel, though not internationally recognized as such.[iii] If the area and population of East Jerusalem is included, it is Israel’s largest city in both population and area, with a population of 763,800 residents over an area of 125.1 km2 (48.3 sq mi).[iv] Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the boundaries of the Old City.
Jerusalem is a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, Jerusalem has been the holiest city since, according to the Bible, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son Solomon commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city. In Christianity, Jerusalem has been a holy city since, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified in c. 30 CE and 300 years later Saint Helena found the True Cross in the city. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city. It became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (Salah) in 610 CE, and, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later. As a result, and despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to sites of key religious importance, among them the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
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, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were introduced in the early 19th century. The Old City was nominated for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger by Jordan in 1982.
Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
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.
Further information: Names of Jerusalem
A city called Rušalimum or Urušalimum (Foundation of Shalem) appears in ancient Egyptian records as the first two references to Jerusalem, in c. 2000 BCE and c. 1330 BCE respectively. The form Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Bible, in the book of Joshua. This form has the appearance of a portmanteau (blend) of Yireh (an abiding place of the fear and the service of God) and the original root S-L-M and is not a simple phonetic evolution of the form in the Amarna letters. The meaning of the common root S-L-M is unknown but is thought to refer to either “peace” (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew) or Shalim, the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion.
Typically the ending -im indicates the plural in Hebrew grammar and -ayim the dual thus leading to the suggestion that the name 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 tradition names the oldest settled neighborhood of Jerusalem the City of David. “Zion” initially referred to part of the city, but later came to signify the city as a whole and as a metaphor for the Biblical Land of Israel. In Greek and Latin the city’s name was transliterated Hierosolyma (Ἱεροσόλυμα), although the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina for part of the Roman period of its history. In Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly known as القُدس, transliterated as al-Quds and meaning “The Holy”.
Main articles: Timeline of Jerusalem and History of Jerusalem
See also: History of Israel and History of the Southern Levant
Given the city’s central position in both Israeli nationalism (Zionism) and Palestinian nationalism, the selectivity required to summarise more than 5,000 years of inhabited history is often influenced by ideological bias or background (see Historiography and nationalism). For example, the Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Israeli nationalists (Zionists), whose discourse 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 Palestinian 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 the different focuses the different writers place on the various events and eras in the city’s history.
Overview of Jerusalem’s historical periods
Early modern period
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 of 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 Ottomans brought many innovations: modern postal systems run by the various consulates; the use of the wheel for modes of transportation; stagecoach and carriage, the wheelbarrow and the cart; and the oil-lantern, 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 1834 Qasim al-Ahmad led his forces from Nablus and attacked Jerusalem, aided by the Abu Ghosh clan, entered the city on May 31, 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 Algiers 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. 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.
Further information: British Mandate of Palestine
General Edmund Allenby enters the Old City of Jerusalem on December 11, 1917
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 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). The situation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine was not quiet. In Jerusalem, in particular, riots occurred in 1920 and in 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.
Division and reunification 1948–1967
Further information: 1947-1948 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and Siege of Jerusalem (1948)
See also: UN General Assembly Resolution 194, Occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem by Jordan, and East Jerusalem
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 United Nations.” 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. The war led to displacement of Arab and Jewish populations in the city.
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 until 1967.
Further information: Positions on Jerusalem
The status of the city, and especially its holy places, remains a core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 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.
In biblical times, Jerusalem was surrounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees. Over centuries of warfare and neglect, these forests were destroyed. Farmers in the Jerusalem region thus built stone terraces along the slopes to hold back the soil, a feature still very much in evidence in the Jerusalem landscape.
Water supply has always been a major problem in Jerusalem, as attested to by the intricate network of ancient aqueducts, tunnels, pools and cisterns found in the city.
Jerusalem is 60 kilometers (37 mi) east of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. On the opposite side of the city, approximately 35 kilometers (22 mi) away, is the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth. Neighboring cities and towns include Bethlehem and Beit Jala to the south, Abu Dis and Ma’ale Adumim to the east, Mevaseret Zion to the west, and Ramallah and Giv’at Ze’ev to the north.
The city is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. Snow usually occurs once or twice a winter, although the city experiences heavy snowfall every three to four years on average. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of 9.1 °C (48.4 °F); July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 24.2 °C (75.6 °F), and the summer months are usually rainless. The average annual precipitation is around 550 mm (22 in), with rain occurring mostly between October and May.
Most of the air pollution in Jerusalem comes from vehicular traffic. Many main streets in Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more carbon monoxide released into the air. Industrial pollution inside the city is sparse, but emissions from factories on the Israeli Mediterranean coast can travel eastward and settle over the city.
The Jerusalem City Council is a body of 31 elected members headed by the mayor, who serves a five-year term and appoints six 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. The city falls under the Jerusalem District, with Jerusalem as the district’s capital.
Although Jerusalem is known primarily for its religious significance, the city is also home to many artistic and cultural venues. The Israel Museum attracts nearly one million visitors a year, approximately one-third of them tourists. The 20-acre (81,000 m2) museum complex comprises several buildings featuring special exhibits and extensive collections of Judaica, archaeological findings, and Israeli and European art. The Dead Sea scrolls, discovered in the mid-20th century in the Qumran caves near the Dead Sea, are housed in the Museum’s Shrine of the Book. The Youth Wing, which mounts changing exhibits and runs an extensive art education program, is visited by 100,000 children a year. The museum has a large outdoor sculpture garden, and a scale-model of the Second Temple. The Rockefeller Museum, located in East Jerusalem, was the first archaeological museum in the Middle East. It was built in 1938 during the British Mandate.
Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the victims of The Holocaust, houses the world’s largest library of Holocaust-related information, with an estimated 100,000 books and articles. The complex contains a state-of-the-art museum that explores the genocide of the Jews through exhibits that focus on the personal stories of individuals and families killed in the Holocaust and an art gallery featuring the work of artists who perished. Yad Vashem also commemorates the 1.5 million Jewish children murdered by the Nazis, and honors the Righteous among the Nations. The Museum on the Seam, which explores issues of coexistence through art, is situated on the road dividing eastern and western Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, established in the 1940s, has appeared around the world. Other arts facilities include the International Convention Center (Binyanei HaUma) near the entrance to city, where the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra plays, the Jerusalem Cinemateque, the Gerard Behar Center (formerly Beit Ha’am) in downtown Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Music Center in Yemin Moshe, and the Targ Music Center in Ein Kerem. The Israel Festival, featuring indoor and outdoor performances by local and international singers, concerts, plays and street theater, has been held annually since 1961; for the past 25 years, Jerusalem has been the major organizer of this event. The Jerusalem Theater in the Talbiya neighborhood hosts over 150 concerts a year, as well as theater and dance companies and performing artists from overseas. The Khan Theater, located in a caravansarai opposite the old Jerusalem train station, is the city’s only repertoire theater. The station itself has become a venue for cultural events in recent years, as the site of Shav’ua Hasefer, an annual week-long book fair, and outdoor music performances. The Jerusalem Film Festival is held annually, screening Israeli and international films.
The Ticho House, in downtown Jerusalem, houses the paintings of Anna Ticho and the Judaica collections of her husband, an ophthalmologist who opened Jerusalem’s first eye clinic in this building in 1912. Al-Hoash, established in 2004, is a gallery for the preservation of Palestinian art.
Jerusalem was declared the Capital of Arab Culture in 2009. Jerusalem is home to the Palestinian National Theatre, which engages in cultural preservation as well as innovation, working to rekindle Palestinian interest in the arts. The Edward Said National Conservatory of Music sponsors the Palestine Youth Orchestra which toured the Gulf states and other Middle East countries in 2009. The Islamic Museum on the Temple Mount, established in 1923, houses many Islamic artifacts, from tiny kohl flasks and rare manuscripts to giant marble columns. While Israel approves and financially supports Arab cultural activities, Arab Capital of Culture events were banned because they were sponsored by the Palestine National Authority. In 2009, a four-day culture festival was held in the Beit ‘Anan suburb of Jerusalem, attended by more than 15,000 people
The Abraham Fund  and the Jerusalem Intercultural Center] (JICC)  promote joint Jewish-Palestinian cultural projects. The Jerusalem Center for Middle Eastern Music and Dance  is open to Arabs and Jews, and offers workshops on Jewish-Arab dialogue through the arts. The Jewish-Arab Youth Orchestra performs both European classical and Middle Eastern music.
In 2008, the Tolerance Monument, an outdoor sculpture by Czesław Dźwigaj, was erected on a hill between Jewish Armon Hanatziv and Arab Jebl Mukaber as a symbol of Jerusalem’s quest for peace.
Historically, Jerusalem’s economy was supported almost exclusively by religious pilgrims, as it was located far from the major ports of Jaffa and Gaza. Jerusalem’s religious landmarks today remain the top draw for foreign visitors, with the majority of tourists visiting the Western Wall and the Old City, but in the past half-century it has become increasingly clear that Jerusalem’s providence cannot solely be sustained by its religious significance.
Although many statistics indicate economic growth in the city, The unemployment rate in Jerusalem (8.3%) is slightly better than the national average (9.0%), although the civilian labor force accounted for less than half of all persons fifteen years or older—lower in comparison to that of Tel Aviv (58.0%) and Haifa (52.4%). Poverty in the city has increased dramatically in recent years; between 2001 and 2007, the number of people below the poverty threshold increased by forty percent. In 2006, the average monthly income for a worker in Jerusalem was NIS5,940 (US$1,410), NIS1,350 less than that for a worker in Tel Aviv.
During the British Mandate, a law was passed requiring all buildings to be constructed of Jerusalem stone in order to preserve the unique historic and aesthetic character of the city. Complementing this building code, which is still in force, is the discouragement of heavy industry in Jerusalem; only about 2.2% of Jerusalem’s land is zoned for “industry and infrastructure.” By comparison, the percentage of land in Tel Aviv zoned for industry and infrastructure is twice as high, and in Haifa, seven times as high. Only 8.5% of the Jerusalem District work force is employed in the manufacturing sector, which is half the national average (15.8%). Higher than average percentages are employed in education (17.9% vs. 12.7%); health and welfare (12.6% vs. 10.7%); community and social services (6.4% vs. 4.7%); hotels and restaurants (6.1% vs. 4.7%); and public administration (8.2% vs. 4.7%). Although Tel Aviv remains Israel’s financial center, a growing number of high tech companies are moving to Jerusalem, providing 12,000 jobs in 2006. Northern Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim industrial park is home to some of Israel’s major corporations, among them Intel, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ophir Optronics and ECI Telecom. Expansion plans for the park envision one hundred businesses, a fire station, and a school, covering an area of 530,000 m2 (130 acres).
Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the national government has remained a major player in Jerusalem’s economy. The government, centered in Jerusalem, generates a large number of jobs, and offers subsidies and incentives for new business initiatives and start-ups.
In 2010, Jerusalem was named the top leisure travel city in Africa and the Middle East by Travel + Leisure magazine.
The airport nearest to Jerusalem is Atarot Airport, which was used for domestic flights until its closure in 2001. Since then it has been under the control of the Israel Defense Forces due to disturbances in Ramallah and the West Bank. All air traffic from Atarot was rerouted to Ben Gurion International Airport, Israel’s largest and busiest airport, which serves nine million passengers annually.
Egged Bus Cooperative, the second-largest bus company in the world, handles most of the local and intercity bus service out of the city’s Central Bus Station on Jaffa Road near the western entrance to Jerusalem from highway 1. As of 2008, Egged buses, taxicabs and private cars are the only transportation options in Jerusalem. This is expected to change with the completion of the Jerusalem Light Rail, a new rail-based transit system currently under construction. According to plans, the first rail line will be capable of transporting an estimated 200,000 people daily, and will have 24 stops. It is scheduled for completion in 2010.
Another work in progress is a new high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Its terminus will be an underground station (80 m (262.47 ft) deep) serving the International Convention Center and the Central Bus Station, and is planned to be extended eventually to Malha station. Israel Railways operates train services to Malha train station from Tel Aviv via Beit Shemesh.
Begin Expressway is one of Jerusalem’s major north-south thoroughfares; it runs on the western side of the city, merging in the north with Route 443, which continues toward Tel Aviv. Route 60 runs through the center of the city near the Green Line between East and West Jerusalem. Construction is progressing on parts of a 35-kilometer (22-mile) ring road around the city, fostering faster connection between the suburbs. The eastern half of the project was conceptualized decades ago, but reaction to the proposed highway is still mixed.
Jerusalem is home to several prestigious universities offering courses in Hebrew, Arabic and English. Founded in 1925, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem has been ranked among the top 100 schools in the world. The Board of Governors has included such prominent Jewish intellectuals as Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud. The university has produced several Nobel laureates; recent winners associated with Hebrew University include Avram Hershko, David Gross, and Daniel Kahneman. One of the university’s major assets is the Jewish National and University Library, which houses over five million books. The library opened in 1892, over three decades before the university was established, and is one of the world’s largest repositories of books on Jewish subjects. Today it is both the central library of the university and the national library of Israel. The Hebrew University operates three campuses in Jerusalem, on Mount Scopus, on Giv’at Ram and a medical campus at the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital.
Al-Quds University was established in 1984 to serve as a flagship university for the Arab and Palestinian peoples. It describes itself as the “only Arab university in Jerusalem”. New York Bard College and Al-Quds University agreed to open a joint college, to operate in a building originally build to house the Palestinian Parliament and Yasir Arafat’s office. The college is scheduled to open in fall 2010 and also have plans to provide a master of arts in teaching (M.A.T.) degree. Al-Quds University resides southeast of the city proper on a 190,000 square metres (47 acres) Abu Dis campus. Other institutions of higher learning in Jerusalem are the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance and Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, whose buildings are located on the campuses of the Hebrew University.
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 Bagrut 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 only won the Cup once. Beitar has won the top league six times, while Hapoel never succeeded. Beitar plays in the more prestigious Ligat HaAl, while Hapoel is in the seconed 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 popular Palestinian football team is called Jabal Al-Mokaber (since 1976) which plays in West Bank Premier League. The team 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 Half Marathon is an annual event in which runners from all over the world compete on a course that takes in some of the city’s most famous sights. In addition to the 21.1 km (13.1 miles) Half Marathon, runners can also opt for the shorter 10 km (6.2 miles) Fun Run. Both runs start and finish at the stadium in Givat Ram.
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