The Jewish Pesence Through the Ages

Compiled and copyrighted (c) by the Israel Hasbara Committee (IHC)
l. 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.

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 Jerusalem:  "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.)

Some Records of Jewish Presence in Jerusalem, 705 CE to 1967CE:

*  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 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 prsent the Jews are coming here by
the hundreds."  The Pittsburgh Dispatch, July 15, 1889.

*  1925 - Hebrew University opened on Mount Scopus, Jerusalem.

*  1967 - Arabs defeated in their new war against Israel - the Six Day War, Jerusalem reunited.  Western Wall
and Temple Mount liberated.

(Source:  Tal Eliyahu, Whose Jerusalem, International Forum For a United Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 1994.)

Israel's Respect for Places of Worship for 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 and controlled, until
1967, the area which is now known as the eastern part of Jerusalem.  This included the walled Old City.  The Jordanians then expelled all the Jews, and 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 building 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.

Jerusalem Population:

Many are unaware that since around 1840, the Jews have constituted the majority of Jerusalem's population.

Year                  Jews                   Muslims                     Christians                   Total
1844                  7,120                      5,000                            3,390                       15,510
1876                12,000                      7,500                            5,470                       25,030
1896                28,112                      8,560                            8,748                       45,420
1922                33,971                    13,411                            4,699                       52,081
1931                51,222                    19,894                          19,335                       90,451
1948              100,000                    40,000                          25,000                    165,000
1967              195,700                    54,963                          12,646                    263,309
1987              340,000                  121,000                          14,000                    475,000
1990              378,200                  131,800                          14,400                    524,400
2000              530,400                  204,100                          14,700                    758,300

(Source:  Bard, Mitchell G., Myths and Facts:  A Guide to the Arab-Israeli Conflict, American Israeli Cooperative
Enterprise Inc., 2002.)

6. Conclusion:

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, Yischak, Politics, Lies and Videotalpe, Shapolsky Publishers, Inc., New York, 1991

Gohen, Saul B., Jerusalem:  Bridging the Four Walls, Herzyl Press, New York, 1977.

Gilbert, Martin, Jerusalem in the Twentieth Century, Ghatto and Windus Ltd., London,  1996.

Tal, Eliyahu, Whose Jerusalem, International Forum for a United Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, 1994.
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