◊ The Jerusalem emblem was designed in 1951 by Eliyahu Koren. The symbol of a lion of Juda guarding the wall, symbolize the linkage of the capital to the tribe of Juda and exists as one of the most common Jewish symbols. The emblem backround stands for Western Wall and the olive branch symbolizes peace. The Hebrew letters above the symbol say Yerushalayim, or Jerusalem in Hebrew.
◊ When Moses sought the nature of God asking for his name the answer he got was "I AM THAT I AM" a God without a name or YHWH. When Temple stood in Jerusalem, only a high priest, once a year, could utter the tetragram YHWH. Jews are forbidden to say it preferring Adonai (Lord) or HaShem (the unspeakable name).
◊ A large stone with a Hebrew inscription carved on it was found on the Herodian street near the southwest corner of the Jerusalem's Temple Mount The inscription in Hebrew is translated as "to the place of trumpeting". The priests would signal the start of the Shabbat and festival days by blowiing the shofar from this point.
◊ The Tel Dan Stele is a black basalt stele found in 1994 in northern Israel. It was erected by King Hazael of Damascus and his son Bar Hadad containing an Aramaic inscription to commemorate his victory over Judea and "House of David" thereby confirming King Davis's existance. The inscription was dated to the 9th century BCE.
◊ The Temple Mount is encircled by Western Wall (also called Kotel), the Southern Wall and the Eastern Wall. The original Northern Wall, destroyed during the Middle Ages, is now replaced by the newer constriction. As described in the Bible, Temple Mount was a square, 500 x 500 cubits. The new Northern area makes it a rectangle. The new addition has no holiness for Jews.
◊ The Second Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem for over 400 years, between 516 BCE and 70 CE. In 70 CE, Roman army under Titus, destroyed most of Jerusalem and the Second Temple was looted and burned. The exact date, acording to Hebrew calendar is 9th of Av. also known as Tisha B'Av holiday.
◊ Even ha-Shetiyah or the Foundation Stone refers to ancient Jewish belief that the world was created from the stone located in the Holy of Holies of the Temple in Jerusalem, thus forming the center of the world. The sages beleived that Foundation Stone was thrown into primeval waters by God and world grew out of it. Jews traditionally face it while praying. The Dome of Rock, build in 691CE on the top of the ruins of the Jewish Temple currently houses the stone.
◊ After the expulsion from Jerusalem, Jews turned to prayer, study, charity and strict observance of the Jewish traditions under the leadership of the rabbis. By the beginning of the third century the sages finalized the text of Bible and codified the oral law into Mishna. Two separate versions of commentaries on Mishna, known as Talmud, were completed in Palestine and Babylonia around 500 CE. More commentaries, rules, civil and religious laws were eventually put into the collective body know as Halaka. These laws would help preserve the Jewish identity for centuries to come.
◊ The Western Wall was built by King Herod in 20 BC during his expansion of the Temple enclosure and is part of a retaining wall that enclosed the western part of Temple Mount. During the Ottoman times the Western wall become known as the Wailing Wall as the visiting Jews would weep in front of ancient structure lamenting the loss of their temple.
◊ According to Jewish sages "the world has ten portions of beauty, nine of which grace Jerusalem; ten portions of suffering, nine of which afflict Jerusalem; ten portions of wisdom, nine of which exalt Jerusalem and ten portions of godlessness, nine of which disgrace Jerusalem.
◊ Jerusalem appears in the Jewish Bible 669 times and Zion 154 times, or 823 times in all. The Christian Bible mentions Jerusalem 154 times and Zion 7 times. In contrast Jerusalem is mentioned in Koran zero times.
Jerusalem is mentioned as Urusalim in the Amarna letters (tablets) discovered at a place called Tell el-Amarna, Egypt. The letter from Abdi-Heba, king of the city, is warning an Egyptian pharaoh about the potential invasion by Habiru. Ancient Israelites were believed to belong to nomadic Habiru tribes
A new ethnic group called the Jebusites appears in Jerusalem and names it Jebus
King David captures Jerusalem and establishes it as the Capital of United Kingdom of Israel. He brings in the Ark of the Covenant, thus greatly enhancing religious and political eminence of the city
King Solomon builds a Temple, which becomes the principal center for religious and spiritual life of Israel. It is situated at the place were Abraham is believed was prepared to sacrifice his son Isaac
Israelite Kingdom is divided into Israel and Judah. Jerusalem becomes the capital of Judah
Assyrians conquer northern kingdom of Israel. King Sargon II exiles 10 of the 12 Israelite tribes and brings in the foreigners to take their place
Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, seized Jerusalem deposing king Jehoiakin and imprisoning him in Babylon
Nebuchadnezzar II conquers Judah, destroys the Temple and exiles Jews to Babylon
Persian king, Cyrus the Great, conquers the Babylonian Empire and allows Jews to return to Jerusalem and rebuilt the Temple. Around 43.000 Jews go back to the Promised Land. He also returns to the Jews the Holy Vessels stolen by Nebuchadnezzar
Zerubbabel, the bodyguard of Persian king Darius I, travels to Jerusalem with thousands of Jews. The newly arrived reinvigorate the work on the Second Temple which is completed after 23 years
Neheimaiah, the Babylonian Jew, hears the sad story about Jerusalem from the two travelers. They tell him how once mighty city walls are torn down and how the neighboring tribes pillage the city and kill the inhabitants. Neheimaiah with the blessing of the king Xerxes I travels to Jerusalem with many of his countrymen and rebuilds the city walls
Ezra the Scribe, the scholar and the leader of the Judean community in Babylon, travels to Jerusalem and initiates the religious reforms and public readings of Torah which becomes the official law of the land
Alexander the Great defeats Darius III king of Persia, conquers Jerusalem
Alexander the Great dies in Babylon. His generals fight for succession. Ptolemy takes control of Egypt and Judea and Seleucus ends up with Syria and Asia Minor
Ptolemy the I captures Jerusalem, but the battle over Jerusalem between the Ptolemies and Seleucids lasts for 125 years
Antiochus the III, the Seleucid, defeats the Ptolemies and adds Judea with Jerusalem to his empire. He begins the efforts to force Jews abandon monotheism in favor of the Greek paganism
Antiochus the IV Epiphanes continues his father's polices and begins the religious persecution. He outlaws the Sabbath and the circumcision and desecrates the Temple by erecting the altar to Zeus and allowing the sacrifices of pigs
Jewish priest called Mattathias kills one of the enforcing officers and with his five sons leads the revolt against Antiochus
Son of Mattathias, Judah Maccabee, liberates Jerusalem from Seleucid rule and restores the Temple. This event is commemorated by the holiday called Chanukah. After 500 years Jews again rule Judea and Jerusalem. Their rule will last for 80 years and will become to be known as Hasmonian Period
Roman general Pompey captures Jerusalem and appoints Hyrcanus II as a High Priest. He enters Holy of Holies but is disappointed to find it empty
Hasmonian king Antigonus with the help Parthians (Persians) temporarily takes Jerusalem back from Romans
Herod the Great is appointed by Romans as a client king and with the help of Roman general Mark Anthony retakes Jerusalem and names it capital of Judea. He marries Mariamme the Hasmonian and thus becomes the legitimate heir to the throne
Herod embarks on a massive building campaign to enlarge and improve the Temple Mount. He builds it in Greco-Roman style in order to please his Roman overlords. He spares no funds and the end result is a magnificent complex of buildings that became known far beyond the walls of Jerusalem.
Pontius Pilate is appointed as a procurator of Judea overseeing the political activities of the state
Pontius Pilate orders the crucifixion of Jesus. This event gives birth to Christianity
Tension grows amongst the population due to the widespread corruption and abuses by Roman appointed administrators. Emergence of the Zealot movement. These events lead to the First Jewish Revolt that grew into full scale war
Roman general Titus takes Jerusalem after a two year siege. Roman soldiers run through the city burning houses and killing anyone in sight. Temple is burnt and it's treasury and sacred vessels are stolen and taken to Rome
Fall of fortress Masada, where the remnants of the Jewish insurgency held up for three years. When Romans enter the fortress they find all defenders dead. They committed mass suicide preferring death to Roman justice
Second Jewish Revolt led by Simon Bar Kochba whom an influential Rabbi Akiva proclaimed to be a Messiah. The suspicion on the part of many Jews that new Roman emperor Hadrian has plans to built a temple to Jupiter in place where Jewish temple once stood is named one of the many reasons for revolt
Majority of Bar Kochba followers are ether killed or dispersed. Jews are banished and are not allowed to visit the Holy City under the threat of death. Hadrian is rebuilding Jerusalem and renames it Aelia Capitolina. He made anti-religious decrees forbidding Torah study, Sabbath observance, circumcision, meeting in synagogues and other rutual practices
Emperor Constantine completes the building of the church of Holy Sepulcher to underline the Roman empire's adoption of Christianity
Roman Emperor Julian, nicknamed Apostate, allows Jews to return to Jerusalem and attempts to rebuild the Temple but an earthquake puts an end to the reconstruction
Persians take Jerusalem from Byzantium and briefly hand over the city to the Jews, but later restore it back to the Christians
Byzantine emperor Heraclius recaptures Jerusalem from Persians but the war exhausts both empires and opens up the door to Muslim conquest
Forces of Islam explode out of Arabia and under the leadership of the second caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab conquer Jerusalem. Muslim rulers allow religious freedom and guarantee the respect of the holy sites. 200 Jewish families kicked out by Byzantines are allowed to return
Dome of Rock is built by Caliph Abdel-Malik on the top of the ruins of the Jewish Temple. Its regarded by the Muslims as the departure point of Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey. Jews and Christians believe it's the site of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. It is also the most likely time when the Golden Gate, the main entrance to the Temple Mount, was sealed off in order to prevent the fulfillment of the Zachariah's prophecy about the arrival of the Jewish Messiah
Seljuk Turks take Jerusalem away from Fatimids. Few years later when the rebellion broke out against them, the Seljuk general Atsiz stormed Jerusalem and allowed its inhabitants to be massacred
Answering the call of the Pope Urban II to liberate the Holy Land, the army of Christian pilgrims and the knights conquers Jerusalem. 30000 Muslims and Jews are slaughtered within three days of carnage. The local Christian population is expelled. Kingdom of Jerusalem is established with Holy City as it's capital
Saladin captures Jerusalem from Crusaders after he won the battle of Hattin. Not one Christian is killed. Allows Crusaders to leave by paying a nominal ransom. Jews are permitted to resettle in Jerusalem
Pope Gregory the VII orders another crusade to recapture Jerusalem. Richard the Lionhart and king Phillip II of France lead the 3rd crusade, but Saladin is able to defend the city. Richard comes near enough to see Jerusalem but has to turn back without ever entering it
Under the the threat of excommunication by the Catholic Church, Frederic II the Holy Roman Emperor of Europe is forced to lead the sixth crusade to liberate the Holy City. He signs the treaty with Egyptian sultan Al-Kamil. Muslims retain Temple Mount but Christians gained full access to their religious shrines
Jerusalem is sacked by Khwarazmian Turks who were summoned to Palestine by Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt. They kill Christians and violate the shrines including the church of Holy Sepulcher
Turan Shah, an Ayyubid Sultan of Egypt, is murdered and replaced by his Mamluk slave-general Aibek, who founded the Mamluk dynasty. Mamluks show no great interest in Jerusalem. They do not even attempt restoring the walls of the City destroyed by Ayyubids in 1219CE
Rabbi Moshe ben Nachman, also known as Nachmonidies or Ramban, comes to Jerusalem after being exiled from Christian Spain. He finds only two Jewish families in the entire city. He turns an old house into the synagogue that becomes a center of the Jewish life in the Mamluk Jerusalem
Under the Mamluk rule Jerusalem is made a subject to Damascus. Citadel is restored. Jerusalem is considered a place of exile for the Mamluk officials who have fallen out of favor. Jews are moved to the area known today as a Jewish Quarter. Jews and Christians are subjected to the heavy taxation. Access to Temple Mount is forbidden to both religions
Spanish Army defeats the Muslim forces in Granada and on July 30th 200,000 Jews are expelled from Spain under orders of king Ferdinand and queen Isabella. Thousands are forced to convert into Christianity under the plan devised by Spanish Inquisition. Tens of thousands die while trying to reach the safety in other countries. Some of the refugees make it to Jerusalem
Selim the Cruel captures Jerusalem after an Ottoman army defeats the Mamluks at Marj-Dabik in northern Syria. Thus begins an Ottoman period in Jerusalem history that would last for four hundred years
Ottoman ruler, Suleiman the Magnificent, embarks on the major reconstruction of Jerusalem. He begins the rebuilding of city walls including the 7 gates and the Tower of David. Ottoman rule spreads the sense of security that results in increased Christian and Jewish pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Economic growth of Jerusalem follows
Sultan Selim II comes to power. Ottoman authorities institute the practice of allowing the private person to purchase the right to collect taxes. This leads to abuse of power, extortions and widespread corruption. By 1625 Jerusalem is brought down to complete economic collapse
Ottoman Empire is severely weakened and European powers play an ever increasing role in Jerusalem affairs. Conflicts erupt over the control of the church of Holy Sepulcher and other Holy Places between the French and Venetians against the competing Greek Orthodoxy
Jerusalem is conquered by the Egyptians, the former subjects of Ottoman Empire. Ibrahim Pasha, son of Mohammed Ali, introduces new laws that prohibit the discriminations against non-Muslims. Four Sephardic Synagogues in the Jewish Quarter are renovated. Jews are allowed to pray at the Western Wall
Fearing that the equal rights for all citizens of Jerusalem will infringe on their privileges, the Muslim population is rising up in rebellion. Ibrahim Pasha needs the force of his entire army to crush the uprising
Ottoman Empire takes Jerusalem back, but is forced to adhere to the rules implemented by Egyptians as European powers demand the concessions and get them
The Crimean War breaks out as a result of a quarrel between the Russian Orthodox monks and the French Catholics over who had precedence over the Holy Places in Jerusalem and Nazareth. England and France defeat Russians at the battle of Sevastopol. As a result they win more concessions from their allies, the Ottoman rulers of Jerusalem
Jerusalem becomes an independent province and reports directly to Istanbul. Non-Muslim residents are allowed to purchase the property. Jews now make up sixty per cent of the population and Jewish Quarter expends
British conquer Egypt and establish themselves as a political power in the region. Assassination of Russian tsar Alexander II is followed by vicious attacks (pogroms) against the Jewish population of Russia. Many Russian Jews emigrate to Palestine. Some settle in Jerusalem
First Zionist congress held in Basel, Switzerland in the aftermath of the Dreyfus affair in France. Theodore Herzl and some other Jewish leaders come to realization of impending catastrophe for Jews of Europe and are looking for a place to resettle. Eventually Palestine, the historical homeland, is chosen as such place
In wake of fresh pogroms in Russia a new wave of Jewish refugees comes to Palestine. Large proportion of them are socialist pioneers
World War I breaks out. Ottoman Turkey sides with Germans against French and British
Turks perpetrate a genocide against Armenian population of the Ottoman Empire. Over a million people are killed and another million are forced into exile. Some refugees make it to Jerusalem and settle in the Armenian Quarter
British under the command of General Allenby capture Jerusalem from Turks. Mayor of Jerusalem Salim al-Husaini borrows a white flag and surrenders the city to couple of British scouts. Allenby promises to protect the religious freedom for all three faiths. Balfour Declaration is issued in which the British Government "views with favor an establishment in Palestine of a national home for Jewish people"
Arabs begin to riot during the Muslim Holiday of Nebu Musa. Arab rioters storm the Jewish Quarter killing Jews and smashing stores. The Jerusalem police sides with rioters. British Authorities forbid Jews to organize defenses. San Remo conference assigns mandate for Palestine to Britain
Haj Amin El-Husseini is appointed to the post of Jerusalem mufti. This angers Jewish residents as El-Husseini was one of the leaders of 1920 riots that took a lot of Jewish lives
An incident sparks Arab riots against Jews in Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed. 133 Jews are killed. British police kills 110 Arabs
Jerusalem is rapidly expanding beyond the Old City. King David Hotel is established
Arab Revolt rocks Palestine and does not abate till spring of 1939. Rebels attack Jewish and British targets. Jerusalem suffers greatly. Rebels have temporary control of the city in 1938. British Authorities use stern measures to deal with the uprising
Peel Committee recommends the partition of the country between Arabs and Jews with Jerusalem to be left under the permanent control of the British Mandate. Jews reluctantly accept the deal in lieu of the deteriorating conditions in Europe. Arabs flatly reject it
Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Haj-Amin El-Husseini and Arab High Committee are exiled by British. While in exile El-Husseini allies himself with Adolph Hitler. Shook up by the Arab Revolt, British issue a White Paper that rejects the findings of the Peel Committee and severely restricts Jewish immigration and the land purchase. Instead it recommends a one state solution. World War II breaks out. Nazis embark on the mass scale extermination campaign of Jewish population of Europe
World War II ends. Thousands of former concentration camp prisoners flee to Palestine despite the efforts of British Government to stop them at any cost. The relationship between the Jews and British Mandatory Administration is at its worst.
On November 29th the United Nations votes in favor of partition of Palestine into autonomous Arab and Jewish states. A special committee is formed to work out a special status given to Jerusalem as an international entity. Jews agree to the resolution. Arabs reject it. Almost immediately after UN resolution, Arabs break through the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem and attack Jewish commercial center on Ben-Yehuda street. Jewish defense force called Haganah retaliates
On May 14th, the day before the British Mandate is terminated, Jews proclaim the Declaration of Independence. New state is called Israel. Celebration is very short lived as the newborn state is attacked by the combined Arab armies of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq. In July a truce is arranged by UN. A year later under Armistice Agreement, Jerusalem is divided between Israel, who now controls West Jerusalem, and Jordan who is in control of Eastern part of the city that includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall
East Jerusalem is neglected by Jordanian authorities. Government offices are moved from Jerusalem to Amman. Muslim population, now called Palestinians, is extremely unhappy with the King Abdullah of Jordan who in April is assassinated at Al Aqsa Mosque by the Palestinian gunman
Jordanians embark on renovation of Holy Places in East Jerusalem, while Israel is busy building up West Jerusalem. President Yitzhak Ben-Zvi is moving his offices there from Tel Aviv. Israelis plan to make West Jerusalem their capital
Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichman, a chief of operations for Hitler's program of extermination of Jews, is brought to Israel and prosecuted in Jerusalem courtroom. He is the only person in the history of Israel to get a death sentence
First Arab summit in Cairo decides to establish a Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO). Palestinian National Council meets for the first time in East Jerusalem
President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser moves 100.000 troops into Sinai and kicks out UN peacekeepers. He also blockades the Strait of Tiran effectively paralyzing Israeli shipping. King Hussain of Jordan joins Nasser and signs a military agreement with Egypt. Israel expecting the worst initiates a preemptive strike and Six Day War begins. Israel captures Sinai, West Bank, Golan Heights and East Jerusalem. For the first time since 1948, Jews can pray at the Western Wall. Free access to all religions to all holy sites is allowed
On October 6th Egypt and Syria launch a surprise attack on Israel on the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur. Initially the Arabs have some success, but after three weeks of fighting and re-supplied by US with ammunition, Israelis stop the advancing Arab armies and push them back beyond the original line. Only a UN Security Council intervention and US vs.Soviet Union confrontation saves an Egyptian Army from complete distraction
On December 20th President of Egypt Anwar Sadat makes a historic trip to Jerusalem and offers the Israelis a complete peace in exchange for their full withdrawal from Sinai. A year later a peace agreement is signed at Camp David. President Sadat is called a traitor by an Arab League and eventually assassinated by Muslim Brotherhood in 1981
On July 30th Israeli Knesset passes the "Basic Law" declaring Jerusalem a complete and united capital of Israel
Israel and the PLO sign on the peace process, known as Oslo Accords, in which Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist and Israel agrees to negotiate Palestinian statehood and withdrawal from West Bank and Gaza. Both sides agree to discuss the status of Jerusalem at the later time. On September 13th Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the PLO leader Yasser Arafat shake hands before the cheering crowds on the White House lawn in Washington. The handshake marks the signing of a Declaration of Principles for peace between the Arabs and Israelis
Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad engage in the continues suicide bombings in Jerusalem and other Israeli cities targeting civilians with an aim of derailing the peace process. On November 4th a Jewish extremist, opposed to Oslo Agreements, assassinates an Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin during the peace rally
On July 11 President Clinton hosts the historic summit between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and PLO Chairmen Yasser Arafat. Barak's offers includes 96% of the West Banks and Gaza. Bill Clinton offered to divide the Old City section of Jerusalem where Israel would keep Jewish and Armenian Quarters and Palestinians would get Muslim and Christian Quarters. Israel would keep the Western Wall while the Palestinians would get the sovereignty of Al Aqsa Mosque. Yasser Arafat left Camp David negotiations without providing any counter offers and embarked on the major tour of Arab States where he received an overwhelming support for not signing on Barak's offer.
On September 28th Ariel Sharon visits the Temple Mount. Palestinians blame this visit for the start of the second Intifada, but later Palestinian officials admit that preparations for the uprising started right after the conclusion of the Camp David negotiations
Palestinian uprising and non-stop terror campaign is in full swing. Jerusalem streets and it's residents are becoming the favorite target of the suicide bombers as these attacks attract the world-wide attention. On August 9, a suicide bombing kills 15 people, including 7 children, at Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. Another 150 people are injured. On December 1st, two suicide bombers detonate explosive devices in the center of Jerusalem on Ben Yehuda Street. 11 people, aged 14-21, were killed and 188 injured
Palestinian uprising and non-stop terror campaign is in full swing. Jerusalem streets and it's residents are becoming the favorite target of the suicide bombers as these attacks attract the world-wide attention. On August 9, a suicide bombing kills 15 people, including 7 children, at Sbarro pizzeria in downtown Jerusalem. On December 1st, two suicide bombers detonate explosive devices on Ben Yehuda Street killing 11 people
Palestinian Authority and Israeli Parliament agree to accept the U.S.-supported "road map" to a Mideast peace agreement clearing the way for a series of steps that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state within three years. Road map proves to be very difficult to implement . Hamas continues reigh of terror as17 people are killed by suicide bomber on a bus in central Jerusalem