Jerusalem

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A twofer: Temple Mount/Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem.
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Jerusalem (Hebrew: ירושלים‎, Yerushalayim; Arabic: القدس, Al-Quds; English: City of Peace) is a holy city to all three of the major Abrahamic religions. West Jerusalem is the capital of Israel (according to Israel, all of Jerusalem is Israeli, but many countries do not recognize that), while East Jerusalem is viewed by Palestinians as the capital of Palestine. It is home to the ruins of the Jewish temple ("Temple Mount"), the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Muslim Dome of the Rock.

Politically, it is one of the most contested cities on earth and has been since the Crusades or earlier.[1] Between 1948 and 1967 East Jerusalem (including most holy sites of all three Abrahamic religions in the city) was controlled by Jordan until it was conquered in the Six Day War. It is the third holiest city (after Mecca and Medina, both in Saudi Arabia and off-limits to non-Muslims at all times) in Islam.

Jerusalem is home to both secular and ultra-orthodox Jews. The ultra-orthodox usually keep to themselves, but can be known to exercise a lot of power, particularly when it comes to women's rights in Jerusalem (or lack thereof), such as demanding segregated buses Jim Crow-style in ultra-orthodox neighborhoods. However, they have since lost that fight as EggedWikipedia's W.svg (the largest bus provider in Israel) refuses to enforce their policy and public buses don't either. The religious makeup of Israel is often described by the adage "Haifa works, Jerusalem prays and Tel Aviv has a party".

One of the most well-known mayors of Jerusalem, and the — to date — longest holder of said office was Teddy KollekWikipedia's W.svg, who was first elected in 1965 and stayed in office until losing the 1993 election, aged 82. The candidate Kollek lost against was one Ehud OlmertWikipedia's W.svg, thus launching the career of one of the most luckless leaders of Israel in recent history. In 2008 a strange cloud of common sense wafted over the city: the populace voted for a secular mayor. The previous mayor was strictly orthodox and was accused of favoring his co-religionists.

Given the nature of the region and the way Jerusalem is seen as holy beyond all reason by — at the very least — three major religions, almost everything done in or to the city may be mired in controversy, which makes life for all inhabitants difficult at times. Just take the Light Rail LineWikipedia's W.svg, the construction of which resulted in calls for boycotts, international criticism on political grounds and years of delays, due to nearly all real estate in the area being "holy", "contested" or both. A particularly intractable conflict over real estate is the Temple Mount, where — despite the status quo not having actually changed since 1967 — a simple rumor can result in riots and dead people in the streets. In fact the 1929 massacre against the Jews in Hebron started in part with rumors concerning the Al Aqsa Mosque, that were started when a new bench was placed in the general vicinity of the Western Wall.

Other Uses[edit]

Jerusalem is also the title of a hymn by William Blake.

And did those feet in ancient times walk upon England's mountains green; (Err… no)

And was the holy Lamb of God on England’s pleasant pastures seen! (still no, I'm afraid)
And did the countenance divine shine forth upon our clouded hills? (Look, he didn't come here, honest)

And was Jerusalem builded [sic!] here, Among these dark satanic mills? (I can't let you have that one either — it's in the Middle East somewhere)

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References[edit]