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To what extent is the city of Jerusalem vital to the followers of three main world religions in the present time?

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To what extent is the city of Jerusalem vital to the followers of three main world religions in the present time? In this course-work, I will be examining the significance of Jerusalem to the current followers of the three main religions. In order for me to do so, I must examine Jerusalem's history and its significance to the three monotheistic faiths. I will also be discussing whether Jerusalem's importance is due to religious or political reasons, and whether the Middle East conflict arises from spiritual or political differences. Jerusalem is the ancient city, which has great significance to the three religions of the Book- Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. For many centuries, Jerusalem, the Sacred, or Holy city has peacefully accommodated Christians, Jews, and Muslims. Jerusalem has been occupied around twenty times, and witnessed four main influential periods. The Christians dominated the Holy land for the least period of time, around 427 years, followed by the second shortest time, which saw the Ancient city being dominated by the Jews for 543 years, the Pagan's dominated Jerusalem for around 800 years, leaving the Muslims to reign over Jerusalem for the longest period of time, 1193 years1. There are common beliefs, which the three religions share when it comes to Jerusalem. That is that Jerusalem is often referred to as 'the Holy land', in the Bible, Torah, and Quran. The Hebrew term "'Ir ha-Qodesh", literally means 'City of Holiness', and if we translate the Arabic word, 'al Ard Al Muqaddasah', it means, The Holy Land. Jerusalem is also believed to have witnessed numerous prophets (recognised by the three religions) who lived, preached, died, and were buried in and around Jerusalem. To Christians, Jerusalem is the place, which witnessed most of Jesus' upbringing, preaching, crucifixion, and his resurrection. A majority of significant Christian sites nowadays, in and around Jerusalem are to do with the whereabouts of his final days. The last place he slept, had his meal, preached, was caught by the Romans, crucified, buried, and resurrected. ...read more.


Contrary to belief, Zionism started at around 1621 CE, rather than the nineteenth century. Henry Fish, wrote 'The great Revival of the World', in which he addressed every Jew in Diaspora (exile) to return to their rightful homeland, Palestine, and to establish a state, which will be one of the most powerful worldwide. The famous Moses Hess wrote 'Rome and Jerusalem'', 1862, and argued that as long as the Jews were separated, they would be powerless, and have a bleak future, unless they moved to Palestine, where they would become united, start their own independent state and re-gain some pride. One of the most famous figures in Jewish philosophy, Theodor Herzl, wrote, 'The Jewish State' (1896), where, after being inspired by Hess, agreed and argued the same points. According to Dr. Hassan Suleiman's article,14 there are two types of Zionism, which must be noted. 'Theological Zionism', which concerns the "spiritual side of Zionism" and demonstrates the vision of Jews returning and living in the Holy Land. The other type is known as "political Zionism," which uses the spiritual idea of Zionism to gain encouragement for the formation of Israel. Zionists have four main aims, which are, "the gathering of Jews from all over the world to Palestine, the preserving of the pillars of the Zionist State...the expanding regionally, via settlements, to establish Greater Israel and its capital in Jerusalem, and the controlling of the Middle East region." Two steps had to be taken by Zionists to attain their objective. These were internal and external migration to Palestine. The first was to be accomplished by obtaining land, and building settlements, then bringing Jewish immigrants. The second was to be done by gaining international support by convincing leaders that Palestine was for them. A minority of Jews argue that the State of Israel is an illegal one, and that no Jew has the right to argue that the Torah asks them to do so by force, or the way it is being done today. ...read more.


The Israeli's would also have to worry about an increase in participants in the Intifada (Palestinian uprising), and suicide bombings, and, if they allowed the Palestinians to return, then surely, as they constitute the second largest number of refugees, they will outnumber the Jews. As for the Israeli's, they call upon Arafat to denounce terrorism, call upon suicide bombers to stop their actions, and to arrest all terrorists and militants, and abolish terrorist groups. If the chance came, would the Palestinians leave Palestine to establish a state in another country? The answer would be a definite no. Suicide killings, assassinations, the Intifada, the refugees, these factors occur due to mounting frustration at the government not dong anything to stop the opposition. After all the deaths and hardships, would either party give up? After Sharon's recent proposition to Arafat25, and Arafat's adamant refusal, the Israelis are merely making the situation worse, by highlighting their unnecessary actions, against the Palestinians, and Arafat personally, such as blocking off water and medical supplies. The Israelis claim that their aim of the recent entry into Palestinian territories is to 'arrest militants and stop suicide bombings.' Through the process, they've made Arafat seem like a 'hero', thus, strengthening his image with the Palestinians and within the Arab world, and creating thousands of willing youths, who are prepared to sacrifice their lives, in the name of Jerusalem. If the Palestinians were to leave Palestine, the Jews would fulfil their desire of destroying Dome of the Rock and Masjidal Aqsa, which as Arafat said, "(Jerusalem) is not a Palestinian city only, it is an Arab, Islamic, and Christian one. If I am going to take a decision on Jerusalem, I have to consult with the Sunnis and the Shiites26 and all Arab countries."27 Jerusalem is extremely important to Jews and Muslims world wide, evidence is the conflicts, and killings carried out by both nations and all for Jerusalem. But peace will never reign over Jerusalem unless it returns to its rightful occupiers, but until then, the war for Jerusalem still continues between the Jews and Muslims. ...read more.

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