Newly crowned by US as Israel’s capital, Jerusalem is unique

It is rare and perhaps unique for the world to interfere with a country’s choice of its own capital. But that is far from the only unusual thing about Jerusalem.

Here is a look at some of the extraordinary facts about the city that Israel claims as its capital, even though nearly 40 percent of its population are not Israeli citizens:



Jerusalem is home to key holy sites for the world’s three monotheistic religions — concentrated in the Old City. The densely packed area, less than one square kilometer (one-third of a square mile), hosts the Western Wall and the adjacent hilltop compound revered by Jews as the Temple Mount, the spot where the biblical Temples once stood and the holiest site in Judaism. Palestinians revere the same hilltop compound as the Noble Sanctuary, Islam’s third-holiest site, where the Al Aqsa Mosque and gold-topped Dome of the Rock are located. Nearby is the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, which Christians revere as the spot where Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. Adding to the mix, Jordan, the former ruler of the Old City, retains custodial rights over Muslim holy sites, while Morocco and Saudi Arabia also claim to be their protectors. This tiny area may be the world’s most combustible piece of real estate.



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