Jerusalem: Few Facts

By Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra

‘If I forget you, Jerusalem, may my right hand forget its skill!!!’

INTRODUCTION

Jerusalem (Yerushaláyim in Arabic), a city in the Middle East, is located on a plateau in the

Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world. It is also considered the holy place to the three major Abrahamic religions i.e. Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It has been the center of a wildly publicized conflict between Israel and Palestine, where the authorities of both the countries claim it as its capital. Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there while the State of Palestine sees it as its seat of power. However, neither claim is widely recognized globally.

Even to this date, the status of Jerusalem remains a sore point in the Israel-Palestine conflict. In the Arab-Israeli war, West Jerusalem was among the territories captured and later annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem was among the territories captured and later annexed by Jordan (The Old City was included in this). Israel than later captured East Jerusalem from Jordan and subsequently annexed it to East Jerusalem, together with additional surrounding territory.

All the branches of Israeli Government are located in Jerusalem, including Knesset (Israel’s Parliament), the residencies of the Prime Minister and President and the Supreme Court.

While the International community rejected the annexation as illegal, and treats East Jerusalem as a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, the latter has a stronger claim to sovereignty in West Jerusalem.

JERUSALEM: ABOUT THE CITY

The holy city has been witness of great violence and bloodshed. It has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, and at least attacked 52 times.

Jerusalem is known for its walls, which are 2.5 miles long, 40 feet long and 8 feet thick. There are 34 watchtowers along Jerusalem’s walls and there are a total of seven gates for traffic. Municipal law certifies all structures to be covered in Jerusalem stones, preserving and displaying the history of the city.

Jerusalem’s emblem has a lion, a wall and an olive branch.

There are more than 50 Christian churches, 33 Muslim Mosques and 300 Jewish synagogues in the city.

Since 1860, Jerusalem has grown far more than recognition. According to surveys, in 2015, Jerusalem had a population of some 850,000 residents, comprising approximately 200,000 secular Jewish Israelis, 350,000 Haredi Jews and 300,000 Palestinians. In 2016, the population of Jerusalem was 882,700, of which Jews were 60.8%, Muslims were 36.2%, Christians were 1.8% and unclassified 1.2%.

JERUSALEM: CULTURE TODAY

Jerusalem is fast catching up today. In 2015, it was named one of the world’s fastest growing high tech hubs. Massachusetts start up accelerator Mass Challenge opened an office in the city in 2016.

It is a lesser known, but all the same captivating fact that almost 77% of Jerusalem have lived there for more than 20 years. It is an incredible fact for the entire Medical Associations of the World that Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital was the first to perform a computer guided hip replacement surgery.

It has a taste for celebration too! The city hosts more than 30 annual festivals, from a film to an opera to book readings to wine tasting!

Some of the most notable residents of the city include novelist Amos Oz and screenwriter Gideon Raff. Also, Oscar winner Natalie Portman was born there!

JERUSALEM AND JUDAISM

Jerusalem is found all over jewish practice; it’s mentioned on holidays, at funerals and weddings. It is a known fact that yearly more than a million notes are placed in the Western Hall, the last remaining piece of the Temple. They are collected and buries consecutively.

The holy city certainly does have a say in religious literature as well. The word ‘Jerusalem’ itself is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible almost 900 times, all the while being the last word of the Passover Seders. Yerushalayim, contains the word ‘Shalom’ which means peace.

CONCLUSION

Jerusalem is the symbol to the fact that people from varying religions can live together in a harmony and in peace. It is a mixture of old and new school; it reflects that following traditions need not mean that new customs are unacceptable and that following new trends does not mean forgetting where our roots lie.

Jerusalem is a city of amazement… a city of wonder.

About the Author:

Anantinee ‘JHUMPA’ Mishra is a prodigy author, poet and TED speaker. She is twelve years old studying in std.8th at Apeejay School, Saket, New Delhi.  She has published two books and many stories and articles in magazines and journals. At the age of ten, she published a 21,000 worded anthology of stories called ‘Treasure of Short Stories’. Last year her debut Novel ‘Manhattan to Munnar’ got released. Recently she has been conferred with a title ‘PRODIGY AUTHOR’ and an ‘HONORARY DIPLOMA’ by the Hon’ble Vice President of  India Sh. M Venkaiah Naidu.  

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