IHC's Jerusalem Fact Sheet
THE JEWISH PRESENCE THROUGH THE AGES
Compiled and copyrighted © by the Israel Hasbara Committee (IHC)
1. General Considerations
a. The connection between the Jewish People and the City of Jerusalem is one of the most well documented facts in world history.
In Jewish traditional sources, the word "Jerusalem" is mentioned over 600 times, at least 140 times in the New Testament, but never in the Koran.
There is a reference in the Koran (17:7) to the destruction of the First and Second Temples, which were located in Jerusalem.
There is also a reference in the Koran (34:13) to King David and his son, King Solomon who built the First Temple in Jerusalem.
But the Koran, which is about 1,400 years old, does not explicitly mention the word "Jerusalem."
Considering the word "Jerusalem" existed for about 2,000 years prior to the birth of Islam, this is noteworthy.
b. Jerusalem was founded by King David on the former Jebusite city of Jebus about 3,300 years ago when he renamed it and gave it a Jewish character.
Jerusalem has been both the political and spiritual capital of the Jewish people, the latter without interruption to the present through good and bad times.
c. Throughout the past 3,300 years Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other people, including the Arabs and Muslims, a remarkable fact considering the city has been conquered by so many different peoples.
2. Observations of some famous people about the connection of the Jewish people to Jerusalem:
a) "To a Muslim" observed British writer Christopher Sykes, "there is a profound difference between Jerusalem and Mecca or Medina. The latter are holy places containing holy sites." Besides the Dome of the Rock, he noted, Jerusalem has no major Islamic significance. (The Dome of the Rock is built on the remains of the First and Second Jewish Temples.)
b) Sir Winston Churchill, former British Prime Minister, to
diplomat Evelyn Shuckburgh, 1955:
"You ought to let the Jews have Jerusalem; it was they who made it famous."
c) Sari Nusseibah, the PA's former representative in
"I would be blind to disclaim the Jewish connection to Jerusalem." (Source: Bard, Mitchell G., Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise Inc., 2002.)
3. Some Records of Jewish Presence in Jerusalem, 705 CE to 1967 CE.
705 CE-"From the time of Caliph Abdel-Malik (d. 705) and henceforth Jews were among those who guarded the walls of the Dome of the Rock.
In return, they were absolved from paying the poll tax imposed on all non-Muslims.
The Jews were employed in clearing the Haram area of waste." Mujir al-din in his History of Jerusalem and Hebron.
863- This is the presumed date of the move of Yeshivat Eretz Israel from Tiberias to Jerusalem to become the central religious authority of the whole region.
The last of Jerusalem's Ga'ons (sages) was Evyatar Ben Eliyahu Hacohen (1112)." Nathan Schur, History of Jerusalem.
1167-"Two hundred of those Jews dwell in one corner of the City, under the Tower of David." Benjamin of Tudela in his famous Travels.
1395-"The Jews in the Holy City live in their own special residential areas." Traveler Ogier D'Anglure in Le Saint Voyage de Jerusalem.
1499-"Among the very many Jews in Jerusalem I found
several natives of Lombardy, three from Germany and two monks who
had converted to Judaism."
Arnold von Harff's travelogue Die Pilgerfarht 1.
1546/47-"Many Jews dwell in Jerusalem and there is a special street of the Jews." Ulrich Prefat of Slovenia in his chronicle.
1611-"And in this Land they [the Jews] live as strangers . . . open to all oppression and deprivation, which they bear with patience beyond all belief, despised and beaten. In spite of all this, I never saw a Jew with an angry face." George Sandys, son of the Archbishop of York in Travails.
1751-"As 4,000 persons arrive yearly besides as many Jews who come from all quarters of the world." Swedish traveler Frederick Hasselquist in Voyages and Travels in the Levant.
1860-First Jewish Quarter built outside the walls of Jerusalem.
1889-"Thirty thousand out of 40,000 people in Jerusalem are Jews . . . at present the Jews are coming here by the hundreds." The Pittsburgh Dispatch, July 15, 1889.
1925-Hebrew University opened at Mount Scopus, Jerusalem.
1967-Arabs defeated in their new war against Israel - the Six
Jerusalem reunited. Western Wall and Temple Mount liberated.
(Source: Tal, Eliyahu, Whose Jerusalem, International Forum For A United Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 1994.)
4. Israel's Respect for Places of Worship of All Religions
With the exception of the period 1948-1967 Jerusalem has never been a physically divided city.
In 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion under Glubb Pasha (really John Bagot, an Englishman) overran Jerusalem.
Jordan controlled the city from 1948 to 1967 and expelled all Jews.
The Jordanians made the ancient City of Jerusalem judenrein.
Under Jordanian rule the following occurred:
· Fifty-eight synagogues in the ancient Jewish Quarter -some centuries old- were destroyed and desecrated. The Jordanians turned some of them into stables and chicken coops.
· The Jordanian Arab Legion desecrated the ancient 2500-year-old Jewish cemetery on the nearby Mount of Olives. A road was built across the ancient cemetery to connect the Intercontinental Hotel to a highway. The Jordanian Arab Legion used tombstones of saintly rabbis for pavement and latrines.
· Despite a provision in the 1949 Armistice Agreement between Israel and Jordan, permitting Jews to visit their holy places, the Jordanians prohibited Jews from visiting the Western Wall in the Old City or the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives. The Hebrew University on Mount Scopus and the Hadassah Hospital were all but cut off and the buildings left derelict.
· Despite Jordan's dismal record of complete disrespect for hallowed Jewish holy places, the U.N. did not pass a single resolution decrying it. Compare this to the U.N.'s record of resolutions against Israel. In contrast, Israel's treatment of all holy places in Jerusalem and her surroundings since 1967 has been exemplary. Former President Jimmy Carter said there is "no doubt" that Israel did a better job safeguarding access to the city's holy places than did Jordan.
5. Jerusalem Population
Many are unaware that since around 1840, the Jews have constituted the majority of Jerusalem's population.
(Source: Bard, Mitchell G., Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise Inc., 2002.)
When the Jewish people claim Jerusalem as their Eternal City they are on solid ground with the strongest case possible.
No other people have claims to Jerusalem as strong as the Jewish people have.
The Jewish claim is the longest unbroken claim. Jerusalem is the one and only spiritual center of Judaism.
Jerusalem, in all its long history, has only been the capital of one people - the Jewish People.
Jews have constituted the majority of Jerusalem's population for the last 160 years.
And, most importantly for the international community, Israel has by far the best record of protecting the holy places of all faiths, and in Jerusalem, the holy places of all religions are accorded proper respect.
Jerusalem is the logical capital of the State of Israel and all men of truth and good faith should recognize this as such.
Bard, Mitchell G., Myths and Facts: A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, American Israeli Cooperative Enterprise Inc., 2002.
Ben Gad, Yitschak, Politics, Lies and Videotape, Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991.
Cohen, Saul B., Jerusalem: Bridging the Four Walls, Herzyl Press, New York, 1977.
Gilbert, Martin, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, Chatto and Windus Ltd., London, 1996.
Tal, Eliyahu, Whose Jerusalem, International Forum for a United Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 1994