I saw someone ask on a Facebook post when exactly Jerusalem became the capital of Israel. It’s hard to say exactly, but the best guess would be 1000 BC, when King David captured the city and made it Jerusalem, the City of David, and center of the Israeli state. That would be 3,018 years ago.
In 597 BC, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon took over Jerusalem, and the ancient Israelis went into exile. Some of the Jewish people fled to Egypt, and quite a few stayed in Israel (not in Jerusalem), but most went to Babylon, where they stayed until 516 BC, when the Babylonians allowed the Israelites to return to Jerusalem. Jerusalem then remained the capital of the Jewish state until 73 AD, when the Roman Emperor Hadrian (better known for Hadrian’s Wall, separating England from Scotland) defeated a Jewish revolt, and banned Jewish people from entering the city of Jerusalem. Jews were barred from the city until the Persians took over from the Byzantine Empire in 614 AD.
After the Persians, various empires controlled the area that had been ancient Israel, and the only state that existed in the land-mass of Palestine was a Christian kingdom, with Jerusalem as its capital, for 100 years after the First Crusade. The city then fell under Islamic control, with different Islamic empires controlling the region at different times, until we approached the present.
The last Islamic empire to control Palestine was the Ottoman Turkish Empire, which was defeated in World War One. England took over Palestine in 1917, and the area was a British protectorate rather than an independent country.
Note that during all of this time, there were always Jewish people living in Jerusalem, except during the Babylonian, and the Roman exile.
When the modern state of Israel was created in 1947, a new people, called the Palestinians, claimed ownership of the land. There were a lot of Islamic people living in Palestine, and many of their families had been there for some time, but the Jewish people had been living in the region for 3,018 years, and whereas the Islamic people in the region had other Islamic states nearby (such as Jordan and Egypt – where is where the so-called Palestinian people come from), there was no other Jewish state anywhere else on the face of the Earth.
The UN really botched the job when it created Israel. The UN could have put a Jewish state somewhere else; it did not have to be the site of ancient Israel. The Jewish people however had a natural affinity for the only homeland their people had ever known, and they really wanted Israel. The British solution was nonsensical in making two states however, with Jerusalem shared between them.
I don’t know who had the shorter end of the stick, between the Palestinians and the Israelites. The Israelites got a contiguous state, whereas the Palestinian state was split in two, with the West Bank, bordering Jordan, and the Gaza Strip, bordering Egypt.
All of Israel’s major highways run through the narrow, nine mile region between the mountains (the Palestinian West Bank) and the Mediterranean Sea. This creates a natural choke point from which, in war, Israel would be cut in half.
When Israel was attacked from all sides in 1967, the United Nations passed a charter guaranteeing Israel’s right to defensible borders. That makes today’s Israel the 1967 Israel, but with defensible borders.
The Jordan Rift Valley is the only naturally defensible position, East of Isreal. In addition to having a river in the middle, the mountains on both sides are tall and steep, making an invasion across that valley – in either direction – difficult. The 1967 border gives the Palestinians control over, not just the Jordan Rift Valley, but also the mountain heights overlooking the Israeli coast, where 70% of Israelis live. It is only nine miles from the edge of the West Bank areas to the Mediterranean Sea. Jerusalem is right on the border, Jerusalem indefensible from the air, and making the entire West Bank a part of Jerusalem, based on UN order after the invasion of Jerusalem in 1967.
The strangest thing of all is that the Palestinians are named after the Philistines from the Old Testament, and whereas Samaria and Judah (collective ancient Israel) is virtually all within the West Bank, the area the Philistines controlled is against the coast, on land given to modern Israel. Those borders changed over time, and Israel eventually defeated the Philistines (conquering the land along the coast), but the heart of ancient Israel is the West Bank, which was given to the Palestinians in 1967, and then ceded to Israel shortly thereafter when Israel was allowed to create defensible borders.
Israel’s Knesset (their Parliament) has always been in Jerusalem, since the founding of the modern country. The President’s house is in Jerusalem. All government functions are controlled from Jerusalem. Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel, and it is asinine for foreign powers to pretend that the capital is in Tel Aviv, more than 41 miles from the true capital.
The first US President to recognize Jerusalem was Bill Clinton, with the passage of the Jerusalem Embassy Act in 1995. Every President has signed an executive order every six month postponing that act of Congress. All President Trump is doing is letting the Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995 take effect. If it was written thirty years ago, it’s about time it take effect. It’s not like Trump is changing anything. He’s just recognizing what we have already recognized in all but political action for the past thirty three years, and what has been in place in reality for over 3,000 years. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and it has always been. Neither Facebook, nor the main stream media can change that.
3 thoughts on “The Capital of Israel = Jerusalem”
Very good write up!
Good summary of history, Wallace, except that the U.N. established Israel in 1947, not 1967. You support your conclusion with good logic, and that’s what we always expect from you, hypertensive or not.
One quibble for an otherwise fine entry. There have always been Jews in Jerusalem and Israel, even during the Babylonian captivity and the Roman conquest. In both periods, although the Temple was destroyed and the elite and man others went into exile, some people remained p. Even when the Romans sowed the Temple Mount with salt, Jews remained in the city and in Samaria and Judea. For most of us in the Galut, Jerusalem still remains the capital city of our hearts.
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