Why Jerusalem?

In this article we will answer some of the most common questions about the city that is sacred in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. We will try to understand its importance and significance in the world.

About the city Jerusalem - ירושלים - yerushalayim, is the capital city of Israel and its largest city, both in the size of its population and in territory.

Israel's government institutions are all located in Jerusalem: - The President's Residence - The Prime Minister's House - The Knesset - The Supreme Court Jerusalem was the center of the life of the Jewish people in ancient times, and the place to which the Jewish people wanted to return during the exile. Because of its religious importance for the three religions, throughout history, Jerusalem has been the focus of wars and conflicts, which continue to this day.

Where is Jerusalem located? Jerusalem is located in Israel, on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains (הרי יהודה - harey yehuda) between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea.


What makes Jerusalem so important? Jerusalem is the holiest city for Judaism for several reasons:

1. It is said in the Bible that this is the place where God chose to dwell His presence and His name: "place marked out by the Lord your God as the resting-place for his name.." (Deuteronomy 12:11)

2. The historical fact that Jerusalem housed the First Temple at the beginning of the first millennium BCE, and the Second Temple that existed in Jerusalem. According to the Bible, the first temple was built in Jerusalem, on Mount Moriah, by King Solomon in 930-970 BC (3000 years ago): "Then Solomon made a start at building the house of the Lord on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, where the Lord had been seen by his father David.." (Books of Chronicles 2, 3:1) Mount moriah - הר מוריה - har moriya, is also called - the Temple Mount, and this is the holiest place for the Jewish people. this is the only place where the Temple can be built in the future.

3. In the Jewish tradition it is also said that the Foundation Stone (the rock at the center of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem), is the rock from which the whole world was founded. אֶבֶן הַשְׁתִיָּיה - even hashtiya - Foundation Stone. The common belief is that the drinking stone was in the Holy of Holies in the Temple Holy of Holies - קודש הקודשים - kodesh hakidashim - inner sanctuary of the Temple where God's presence appeared. Also, Jerusalem is the place of the binding of Isaac (עקדת יצחק - akedat itzc'hak).

In Christianity: 1. According to the Christian tradition, the sanctity of Jerusalem began in the creation of the world. The difference between the traditions is in the location: In the Jewish tradition - the Foundation Stone on the Temple Mount as the center of the world. Christians identify this place in the heart of a church - Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

2. According to Christian tradition, the sites during which Jesus lived and died, are located in Jerusalem: Church of the Holy Sepulcher, and Via Dolorosa.



In Islam: Islam is the youngest of the three religions that believe in one God. It was created about 1300 years ago by Muhammad.

One of Jerusalem's descriptions of Islam is "the first of the two directions of prayer". The origin of the nickname is in the Muslim tradition: at the beginning of Islam, Muhammad ordered to pray towards Jerusalem, and later changed the direction of prayer to Mecca.

The reason for the change in the direction of prayer is not clear, and in the Muslim tradition, various explanations are given for this. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is considered the third site of religious importance, after Mecca and al-Madinah. the holy places in Jerusalem: Al-Aqsa Mosque and Dome of the Rock,



Why is Jerusalem the capital of Israel? We mentioned earlier the importance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people. 3000 years ago King David turned Jerusalem into the capital of the United Kingdom of the People of Israel after conquering it from the Jebusites, and established his palace there. The son of David, king Solomon established the Temple in this city.

After the Babylonian exile, the Jews worked hard to establish in Jerusalem the Second Temple and surround the city with a wall.

The choice King David made was fateful, and from that day the Jews saw Jerusalem as their capital. The Western Wall The Western Wall is one of the four retaining walls that have surrounded the Temple Mount. For about two thousand years, from the end of the Second Temple period to the present day. In the Jewish tradition, the Western Wall is considered extremely sacred. The wall was originally part of the expansion of the Second Jewish Temple.




The city of David: The City of David is an archeological site where ancient Jerusalem was located.

Since the 1990s, the site has been called the "City of David" after King David, who according to the Bible established Jerusalem as the capital of his kingdom and was buried there after his death.

Jerusalem day - יום ירושלים - yom yerushalayim Jerusalem Day is a national holiday which is celebrated each year on the 28th of the Hebrew month Iyar (אייר). This holiday marks the unification of the city of Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty after the Battle of Jerusalem in the Six Day War (1967).

Some call this day the day of the unification of Jerusalem, from a point of view that sees the establishment of Israeli sovereignty in the Old City and in East Jerusalem.

This view was strengthened by the Basic Law in Israel: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel.

Festive ceremonies are held on Jerusalem Day in Jerusalem and around the country.


Want to learn more? check out our conversations Hebrew course Learn Hebrew across israel - Jerusalem and the Dead Sea


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