Jerusalem, situated in the Judean Hills, is the capital of Israel, the seat of the government and the historical, spiritual and national center of the Jewish people since King David made it the capital of his kingdom some 3,000 years ago. So many Scriptures tell of God’s purpose and love for Jerusalem. So many stories… from Abraham’s test on Mt. Moriah, David’s dance before the Ark, Solomon’s coronation, Nehemiah’s challenge of rebuilding the ancient walls, Jeremiah’s laments and Jesus teaching outside the Temple, replay in our minds when we think of Jerusalem.
Until 1860 Jerusalem was a walled city made up of four quarters – Jewish, Muslim, Armenian and Christian. At that time, the Jews, who by then compromised the majority of its population, began to establish new neighborhoods outside the walls forming the nucleus of modern Jerusalem. During three decades of British rule (1918-48), the city gradually changed from a neglected town of the Ottoman Empire (1518-1918), into a flourishing metropolis with many new neighborhoods reflecting the character of the resident’s culture living there. Following the Arab onslaught against the newly formed state, Jerusalem was divided (1949) under Israeli and Jordanian rule. In 1967, the city was reunited under Israeli rule.
Today Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city. It is a city of diversity with inhabitants representing a mixture of cultures and nationalities, of religious and secular lifestyles. It is a cultural city with many annual music, film, dance and art festivals.