The Biblical Christian Network: “Israel” (2 of 100) Wikipedia

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

 

 

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Jewish Topical

“Israel”


(2 of 100)

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WIKIPEDIA


Israel (Listeni

 /ˈɪzriəl/Hebrewיִשְׂרָאֵל‎‎, YiśraˀelArabicإِسْرَائِيل‎, ʾIsrāʾīl), officially the State of Israel (HebrewAbout this sound מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל ,Medīnat Yisrā’elArabicدَوْلَة إِسْرَائِيل‎, Dawlat ʾIsrāʾīl), is a parliamentary republic in Western Asia, located on the eastern shore of theMediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area.[6][7] Israel is the world’s only Jewish-majority state,[8] and is defined as “a Jewish and democratic state” by Israeli constitutional law.[citation needed]

 

A city called Rušalimum or Urušalimum (Foundation of Shalem)[25] appears in ancient Egyptian records as the first two references to Jerusalem, in c. 2000 BCE and c. 1330 BCE respectively.[26][27][28] The form Yerushalayim (Jerusalem) first appears in the Bible, in the book of Joshua. This form has the appearance of a portmanteau (blend) of Yireh (an abiding place of the fear and the service of God)[29]and the original root S-L-M and is not a simple phonetic evolution of the form in the Amarna letters. The meaning of the common root S-L-M is unknown but is thought to refer to either “peace” (Salam or Shalom in modern Arabic and Hebrew) or Shalim, the god of dusk in the Canaanite religion.[30][31][32]

Typically the ending -im indicates the plural in Hebrew grammar and -ayim the dual thus leading to the suggestion that the name refers to the fact that the city sits on two hills.[33][34] However the pronunciation of the last syllable as -ayim appears to be a late development, which had not yet appeared at the time of the Septuagint.

The tradition names the oldest settled neighborhood of Jerusalem the City of David.[citation needed] “Zion” initially referred to part of the city, but later came to signify the city as a whole and as a metaphor for the Biblical Land of Israel. In Greek and Latin the city’s name was transliterated Hierosolyma(Ἱεροσόλυμα), although the city was renamed Aelia Capitolina for part of the Roman period of its history. In Arabic, Jerusalem is most commonly[citation needed] known as القُدس, transliterated as al-Quds and meaning “The Holy”.

History

Overview

Given the city’s central position in both Israeli nationalism (Zionism) and Palestinian nationalism, the selectivity required to summarise more than 5,000 years of inhabited history is often[35][36] influenced by ideological bias or background (see Historiography and nationalism). For example, the Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Israeli nationalists (Zionists), whose discourse suggests that modern Jews descend from the Israelites andMaccabees,[37][38] whilst the IslamicChristian and other non-Jewish periods of the city’s history are important to Palestinian nationalism, whosediscourse suggests that modern Palestinians descend from all the different peoples who have lived in the region.[39][40] As a result, both sides claim the history of the city has been politicized by the other in order to strengthen their relative claims to the city,[35][36][41][42][43] and that this is borne out by the different focuses the different writers place on the various events and eras in the city’s history.

Overview of Jerusalem’s historical periods

Ancient period

Ceramic evidence indicates the occupation of City of David, within present-day Jerusalem, as far back as the Copper Age (c. 4th millennium BCE),[13][44] with evidence of a permanent settlement during the early Bronze Age (c. 3000–2800 BCE).[44][45] The Execration Texts (c. 19th century BCE), which refer to a city called Roshlamem or Rosh-ramen[44] and the Amarna letters (c. 14th century BCE) may be the earliest mention of the city.[46][47] Some archaeologists, including Kathleen Kenyon, believe Jerusalem[48] as a city was founded by Northwest Semitic people with organized settlements from around 2600 BCE. According to Jewish tradition, the city was founded by Shem and Eber, ancestors of Abraham. In the biblicalaccount, Jerusalem (“Salem”) when first mentioned is ruled by Melchizedek, an ally of Abraham (identified with Shem in legend). Later, in the time of Joshua, Jerusalem lay within territory allocated to the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18:28), but continued to be under the independent control of theJebusites until it was conquered by David and made into the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel (c. 11th century BCE).[49][50][v] Recent excavations of a Large Stone Structure and a nearby Stepped Stone Structure are widely believed[by whom?] to be the remains of King David’s palace. The excavations have been interpreted by some archaeologists as lending credence to the biblical narrative.[51]

According to Hebrew scripture, King David reigned until 970 BCE. He was succeeded by his son Solomon,[52] who built the Holy Temple on Mount MoriahSolomon’s Temple (later known as the First Temple), went on to play a pivotal role in Jewish history as the repository of the Ark of the Covenant.[53] For more than 400 years, until the Babylonian conquest in 587 BCE, Jerusalem was the political capital of the united Kingdom of Israeland then the Kingdom of Judah. During this period, known as the First Temple Period,[54] the Temple was the religious center of the Israelites.[55] On Solomon’s death (c. 930 BCE), the ten northern tribes split off to form the Kingdom of Israel. Under the leadership of the House of David and Solomon, Jerusalem remained the capital of the Kingdom of Judah.[56]

When the Assyrians conquered the Kingdom of Israel in 722 BCE, Jerusalem was strengthened by a great influx of refugees from the northern kingdom. The First Temple period ended around 586 BCE, as the Babylonians conquered Judah and Jerusalem, and laid waste to Solomon’s Temple.[54] In 538 BCE, after 50 years of Babylonian captivityPersian King Cyrus the Great invited the Jews to return to Judah to rebuild the Temple.[57] Construction of the Second Temple was completed in 516 BCE, during the reign of Darius the Great, 70 years after the destruction of the First Temple.[58][59] In about 445 BCE, King Artaxerxes I of Persia issued a decree allowing the city and the walls to be rebuilt.[60] Jerusalem resumed its role as capital of Judah and center of Jewish worship.

Classical antiquity

When Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great conquered the Persian Empire, Jerusalem and Judea came under Macedonian control, eventually falling to the Ptolemaic dynasty underPtolemy I. In 198 BCE, Ptolemy V lost Jerusalem and Judea to the Seleucids under Antiochus III. The Seleucid attempt to recast Jerusalem as a Hellenized city-state came to a head in 168 BCE with the successful Maccabean revolt of Mattathias the High Priest and his five sons against Antiochus Epiphanes, and their establishment of the Hasmonean Kingdom in 152 BCE with Jerusalem again as its capital. In 63 BCE, Pompey the Great intervened in a Hasmonean struggle for the throne and captured Jerusalem, incorporating Judea into the Roman Republic.[61]

Roman siege and destruction of Jerusalem (David Roberts, 1850)

As Rome became stronger it installed Herod as a Jewish client king. Herod the Great, as he was known, devoted himself to developing and beautifying the city. He built walls, towers and palaces, and expanded the Temple Mount, buttressing the courtyard with blocks of stone weighing up to 100 tons. Under Herod, the area of the Temple Mount doubled in size.[52][62][63] Shortly after Herod’s death, in 6 CE Judea came under direct Roman rule as the Iudaea Province,[64] although Herod’s descendants through Agrippa II remained client kings of neighbouring territories until 96 CE. Roman rule over Jerusalem and the region began to be challenged with the First Jewish–Roman War, which resulted in the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE. Jerusalem once again served as the capital of Judea during the three-year rebellion known as the Bar Kokhba revolt, beginning in 132 CE. The Romans succeeded in suppressing the revolt in 135 CE. Emperor Hadrian romanized the city, renaming it Aelia Capitolina,[65] and banned the Jews from entering it. Hadrian renamed the entireIudaea Province Syria Palaestina, after the biblical Philistines, in an attempt to de-Judaize the country.[66][67] The enforcement of the ban on Jews entering Aelia Capitolina continued until the 4th century CE.

In the five centuries following the Bar Kokhba revolt, the city remained under Roman then Byzantine rule. During the 4th century, theRoman Emperor Constantine I constructed Christian sites in Jerusalem, such as the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Jerusalem reached a peak in size and population at the end of the Second Temple Period, when the city covered two square kilometers (0.8 sq mi.) and had a population of 200,000.[66][68] From the days of Constantine until the 7th century, Jews were banned from Jerusalem.[69]

The eastern continuation of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, maintained control of the city for years. Within the span of a few decades, Jerusalem shifted from Byzantine toPersian rule and returned to Roman-Byzantine dominion once more. Following Sassanid Khosrau II‘s early 7th century push into Byzantine, advancing through Syria, Sassanid GeneralsShahrbaraz and Shahin attacked the Byzantine-controlled city of Jerusalem (PersianDej Houdkh). They were aided by the Jews of Palestine, who had risen up against the Byzantines.[70]

In the Siege of Jerusalem (614), after 21 days of relentless siege warfare, Jerusalem was captured. The Byzantine chronicles relate that the Sassanid army and the Jews slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians in the city, an episode which has been the subject of much debate between historians.[71] The conquered city would remain in Sassanid hands for some fifteen years until the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius reconquered it in 629.[70]

Middle Ages

Dome of the Rock viewed through Cotton Gate

Jerusalem is considered Islam’s third holiest city after Mecca and Medina. Among Muslims of an earliest era it was referred to as Madinat bayt al-Maqdis “City of the Temple”.[72] which was restricted to the Temple Mount. The rest of the city “…was called Iliya, reflecting the Roman name given the city following the destruction of 70 c.e.: Aelia Capitolina“.[73] Later the Temple Mount became known as al-Haram al-Sharif, “The Noble Sanctuary”, while the city around it became known as Bayt al-Maqdis,[74] and later still, al-Quds al-Sharif “The Noble City”.

 

The Islamization of Jerusalem began in the first year A.H. (620 CE), when Muslims were instructed to face the city while performing their daily prostrations and, according to Muslim religious tradition, Muhammad’s night journey and ascension to heaven took place. After 16 months, the direction of prayer was changed to Mecca.[75] In 638 theIslamic Caliphate extended its dominion to Jerusalem.[76] With the Arab conquest, Jews were allowed back into the city.[77] 

 

The Rashidun caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab signed a treaty with Monophysite Christian Patriarch Sophronius, assuring him that Jerusalem’s Christian holy places and population would be protected under Muslim rule.[78] When led to pray at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the holiest site for Christians, the caliph Umar refused to pray in the church so that Muslims would not request converting the church to a mosque. He prayed outside the church, where the Mosque of Umar (Omar) stands to this day, opposite the entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. According to the Gaullic bishop Arculf, who lived in Jerusalem from 679 to 688, the Mosque of Umar was a rectangular wooden structure built over ruins which could accommodate 3,000 worshipers.[79] 

 

When the Muslims went to Bayt Al-Maqdes for the first time, They searched for the site of the Far Away Holy Mosque (Al-Masjed Al-Aqsa) that was mentioned in Quran and Hadith according to Islamic beliefs. According to Islamic legend, they found the site full of rubbish, they cleaned it and started using it for prayers thereafter.[citation needed] The Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik commissioned the construction of the Dome of the Rock in the late 7th century.[80]The 10th century historian al-Muqaddasi writes that Abd al-Malik built the shrine in order to compete in grandeur with Jerusalem’s monumental churches.[79] Over the next four hundred years Jerusalem’s prominence diminished as Arab powers in the region jockeyed for control.[81]

Medieval illustration of capture of Jerusalem during the First Crusade, 1099

In 1099, The Fatimid ruler expelled the native Christian population before Jerusalem was conquered by the Crusaders, who massacred most of its Muslim and Jewish inhabitants when they took the solidly defended city by assault, after a period of siege; later the Crusaders created the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

 

By early June 1099 Jerusalem’s population had declined from 70,000 to less than 30,000.[82]

In 1187, the city was wrested from the Crusaders by Saladin who permitted Jews and Muslims to return and settle in the city.[83] Under the Ayyubid dynasty of Saladin, a period of huge investment began in the construction of houses, markets, public baths, and pilgrim hostels as well as the establishment of religious endowments. However, for most of the 13th century, Jerusalem declined to the status of a village due to city’s fall of strategic value and Ayyubid internecine struggles.[84]

 


In 1244, Jerusalem was sacked by the Khwarezmian Tartars, who decimated the city’s Christian population and drove out the Jews.[85] The Khwarezmian Tartars were driven out by the Ayyubids in 1247. From 1250 to 1517, Jerusalem was ruled by the Mamluks. During this period of time many clashes occurred between the Mamluks on one side and the crusaders and the Mongols on the other side. The area also suffered from many earthquakes and black plague.

Early modern period

David’s Citadel and the Ottoman walls

In 1517, Jerusalem and environs fell to the Ottoman Turks, who generally remained in control until 1917.[83] Jerusalem enjoyed a prosperous period of renewal and peace under Suleiman the Magnificent – including the rebuilding of magnificent walls around the Old City. Throughout much of Ottoman rule, Jerusalem remained a provincial, if religiously important center, and did not straddle the main trade route betweenDamascus and Cairo.[86] The English reference book Modern history or the present state of all nations written in 1744 stated that “Jerusalem is still reckoned the capital city of Palestine”.[87]

 

The Ottomans brought many innovations: modern postal systems run by the various consulates; the use of the wheel for modes of transportation; stagecoach and carriage, the wheelbarrow and the cart; and the oil-lantern, among the first signs of modernization in the city.[88] In the mid 19th century, the Ottomans constructed the first paved road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, and by 1892 the railroad had reached the city.[88]

Modern period

With the annexation of Jerusalem by Muhammad Ali of Egypt in 1831, foreign missions and consulates began to establish a foothold in the city. In 1836, Ibrahim Pasha allowed Jerusalem’s Jewish residents to restore four major synagogues, among them the Hurva.[89] In the 1834 Arab revolt in Palestine, Qasim al-Ahmad led his forces from Nablus and attacked Jerusalem, aided by the Abu Ghosh clan, entered the city on May 31, 1834. The Christians and Jews of Jerusalem were subjected to attacks. Ibrahim’s Egyptian army routed Qasim’s forces in Jerusalem the following month.[90]


Ben-Zakai Synagogue in 1893

Ottoman rule was reinstated in 1840, but many Egyptian Muslims remained in Jerusalem and Jews from Algiers and North Africa began to settle in the city in growing numbers.[89] In the 1840s and 1850s, the international powers began a tug-of-war in Palestine as they sought to extend their protection over the region’s religious minorities, a struggle carried out mainly through consular representatives in Jerusalem.[91] According to the Prussian consul, the population in 1845 was 16,410, with 7,120 Jews, 5,000 Muslims, 3,390 Christians, 800 Turkish soldiers and 100 Europeans.[89] The volume of Christian pilgrims increased under the Ottomans, doubling the city’s population around Easter time.[92]


In the 1860s, new neighborhoods began to develop outside the Old City walls to house pilgrims and relieve the intense overcrowding and poor sanitation inside the city. The Russian Compound and Mishkenot Sha’ananim were founded in 1860.[93] In 1867 an American Missionary reports an estimated population of Jerusalem of ‘above’ 15,000, with 4,000 to 5,000 Jews and 6,000 Muslims. Every year there were 5,000 to 6,000 Russian Christian Pilgrims.[94]

British Mandate

General Edmund Allenby enters theOld City of Jerusalem on December 11, 1917

In 1917 after the Battle of Jerusalem, the British Army, led by General Edmund Allenby, captured the city,[95] and in 1922, the League of Nationsat the Conference of Lausanne entrusted the United Kingdom to administer the Mandate for Palestine, the neighbouring mandate of Transjordan to the east across the River Jordan, and the Iraq Mandate beyond it.


From 1922 to 1948 the total population of the city rose from 52,000 to 165,000 with two thirds of Jews and one-third of Arabs (Muslims and Christians).[96] The situation between Arabs and Jews in Palestine was not quiet. In Jerusalem, in particular, riots occurred in 1920 and in 1929. Under the British, new garden suburbs were built in the western and northern parts of the city[97][98] and institutions of higher learning such as theHebrew University were founded.[99]

Division and reunification 1948–1967

Israeli policemen meet a Jordanian Legionnaire near the Mandelbaum Gate

As the British Mandate for Palestine was expiring, the 1947 UN Partition Plan recommended “the creation of a special international regime in the City of Jerusalem, constituting it as a corpus separatum under the administration of the United Nations.”[100] The international regime (which also included the city of Bethlehem) was to remain in force for a period of ten years, whereupon a referendum was to be held in which the residents were to decide the future regime of their city. However, this plan was not implemented, as the 1948 war erupted, while the British withdrew from Palestine and Israel declared its independence.[101]

 

 The war led to displacement of Arab and Jewish populations in the city. The 1,500 residents of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City were expelled and a few hundred taken prisoner when the Arab Legion captured the quarter on 28 May.[102][103]The Arab Legion also attacked Western Jerusalem with snipers.[104] Arab residents of KatamonTalbiya, and the German Colony were driven from their homes.[citation needed]


The war of 1948 resulted in Jerusalem being divided, with the old walled city lying entirely on the Jordanian side of the line. A no-man’s land between East and West Jerusalem came into being in November 1948: Moshe Dayan, commander of the Israeli forces in Jerusalem, met with his Jordanian counterpart Abdullah el Tell in a deserted house in Jerusalem’s Musrara neighborhood and marked out their respective positions: Israel’s position in red and Jordan’s in green. This rough map, which was not meant as an official one, became the final line in the 1949 Armistice Agreements, which divided the city and left Mount Scopus as an Israeli exclave inside East Jerusalem.[105] Barbed wire and concrete barriers ran down the center of the city, passing close by Jaffa Gate on the western side of the old walled city, and a crossing point was established at Mandelbaum Gate slightly to the north of the old walled city. Military skirmishes frequently threatened the ceasefire. After the establishment of the State of Israel, Jerusalem was declared its capital. Jordan formally annexed East Jerusalem in 1950, subjecting it to Jordanian law.[101][106] Only the United Kingdom and Pakistan formally recognized such annexation, which, in regard to Jerusalem, was on ade facto basis.[107] Also, it is dubious if Pakistan recognized Jordan’s annexation.[108][109]


After 1948, since the old walled city in its entirety was to the east of the armistice line, Jordan was able to take control of all the holy places therein, and contrary to the terms of the armistice agreement, Israelis were denied access to Jewish holy sites, many of which were desecrated. 34 of the 35 synagogues in the Old City, including the Hurva and the Tiferet Yisrael Synagogue, were destroyed over the course of the next 19 years, either razed or used as stables and hen-houses. Many other historic and religiously significant buildings were replaced by modern structures.[110] The Jewish Quarter became known as Harat al-Sharaf and was occupied by refugees from the 1948 war. In 1966 the Jordanian authorities relocated 500 of them to the Shua’fat refugee camp as part of plans to redevelop the area.[111]


Jordan allowed only very limited access to Christian holy sites.[112] During this period, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque underwent major renovations.[113]

Map of East Jerusalem

In 1967, the Six-Day War saw hand to hand fighting between Israeli and Jordanian soldiers on the Temple Mount, and it resulted in Israel capturingEast Jerusalem. Hence Jewish and Christian access to the holy sites inside the old walled city was restored, while the Temple Mount remained under the jurisdiction of an Islamic waqf. The Moroccan Quarter, which was located adjacent to the Western Wall, was vacated and razed[114] to make way for a plaza for those visiting the wall.[115] Since the war, Israel has expanded the city’s boundaries and established a ring of Jewish neighbourhoods on land east of the Green Line. Since 1967, Israel has gone to considerable lengths to make the sections of Jerusalem it captured in the Six Day War more Jewish.[116]


However, the takeover of East Jerusalem was met with international criticism. Following the passing of Israel’s Jerusalem Law, which declared Jerusalem, “complete and united”, the capital of Israel,[117] the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution that declared the law “a violation of international law” and requested all member states to withdraw all remaining embassies from the city.[118]

Today

The status of the city, and especially its holy places, remains a core issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The Israeli government has approved building plans in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City[119] in order to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem, while prominent Islamic leaders have made claims that Jews have no historical connection to Jerusalem, alleging that the 2,500-year old Western Wall was constructed as part of a mosque.[120] Palestinians envision East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state,[121][122] and the city’s borders have been the subject of bilateral talks. A strong longing for peace is symbolized by the Peace Monument (with farming tools made out of scrap weapons), facing the Old City wall near the former Israeli-Jordanian border and quoting from the book of Isaiah in Arabic and Hebrew.[123]

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