What You Need To Know
Jerusalem located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world. In the ancient cuneiform, Jerusalem was called “Urusalima”, meaning “City of Peace”, during the early Canaanite period (approximately 2400 BC). It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as the State of Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there while the State of Palestine ultimately foresees the city as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The part of Jerusalem called the City of David was settled in the 4th millennium BCE. In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent. Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters. The Old City became a World Heritage Site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger. Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries. According to the Biblical tradition, King David conquered the city from the Jebusites and established it as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel, and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple. These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium BCE, assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people. The sobriquet of holy city was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times. The holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus’s crucifixion there. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. In Islamic tradition in 610 CE it became the first qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (salat), and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran. As a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock, the Garden Tomb and al-Aqsa Mosque. Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and later annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and later annexed by Jordan. Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it into Jerusalem, together with additional surrounding territory. One of Israel’s Basic Laws, the 198’0 Jerusalem Law, refers to Jerusalem as the country’s undivided capital. All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court. Whilst the international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel, Israel has a stronger claim to sovereignty over West Jerusalem. The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the city hosts no foreign embassies. Jerusalem is also home to some non-governmental Israeli institutions of national importance, such as the Hebrew University and the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. In 2011, Jerusalem had a population of 801,000, of which Jews comprised 497,000 (62%), Muslims 281,000 (35%), Christians 14,000 (around 2%) and 9,000 (1%) were not classified by religion.
Area: 125.1 km²
Population: About 804,400
- Currency of Jerusalem. The currency in Israel is the new Israeli sheqel (NIS), which is divided into 100 agorot. Banknotes are available in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200, and coins are available in units of 5, 10 and 50 agorot, and 1, 5 and 10 newIsraeli sheqel.
Historically, Jerusalem’s economy was supported almost exclusively by religious pilgrims, as it was located far from the major ports of Jaffa and Gaza. Jerusalem’s religious and cultural landmarks today remain the top draw for foreign visitors, with the majority of tourists visiting the Western Wall and the Old City, In 2010, Jerusalem was named the top leisure travel city in Africa and the Middle East by Travel + Leisure magazine. in 2013, 75% of the 3.5 million tourists to Israel visited Jerusalem. Since the establishment of the State of Israel, the national government has remained a major player in Jerusalem’s economy. The government, centered in Jerusalem, generates a large number of jobs, and offers subsidies and incentives for new business initiatives and start-ups. Although Tel Aviv remains Israel’s financial center, a growing number of high tech companies are moving to Jerusalem, providing 12,000 jobs in 2006. Northern Jerusalem’s Har Hotzvim industrial park and the Jerusalem Technology Park in south Jerusalem are home to large Research and Development centers of international tech companies, among them Intel, Cisco, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, IBM, Mobileye,Johnson & Johnson, Medtronic and more . In April 2015, Time Magazine picked Jerusalem as one of the five emerging tech hubs in the world, proclaiming that “The city has become a flourishing center for biomed, cleantech, Internet/mobile startups, accelerators, investors and supporting service providers.” Higher than average percentages are employed in education (17.9% vs. 12.7%); health and welfare (12.6% vs. 10.7%); community and social services (6.4% vs. 4.7%); hotels and restaurants (6.1% vs. 4.7%); and public administration (8.2% vs. 4.7%). During the British Mandate, a law was passed requiring all buildings to be constructed of Jerusalem stone in order to preserve the unique historic and aesthetic character of the city. Complementing this building code, which is still in force, is the discouragement of heavy industry in Jerusalem; only about 2.2% of Jerusalem’s land is zoned for “industry and infrastructure.” By comparison, the percentage of land in Tel Aviv zoned for industry and infrastructure is twice as high, and in Haifa, seven times as high. Only 8.5% of the Jerusalem District work force is employed in the manufacturing sector, which is half the national average (15.8%). Mamilla Avenue adorned with upscale shops adjacent to the Old City Walls. Although many statistics indicate economic growth in the city, since 1967 East Jerusalem has lagged behind the development of West Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the percentage of households with employed persons is higher for Arab households (76.1%) than for Jewish households (66.8%). The unemployment rate in Jerusalem (8.3%) is slightly better than the national average (9.0%), although the civilian labor force accounted for less than half of all persons fifteen years or older—lower in comparison to that of Tel Aviv (58.0%) and Haifa (52.4%). Poverty remains a problem in the city as 37% of the families in Jerusalem lived in 2011 below the poverty line. According to a report by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), 78% of Arabs in Jerusalem lived in poverty in 2012, up from 64% in 2006. While the ACRI attributes the increase to the lack of employment opportunities, infrastructure and a worsening educational system, Ir Amim blames the legal status of Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem is part of Israel. Hebrew is the main language used for all daily conversation. Arabic is the main language used by the Israeli-Arab citizens.English is also widely spoken and signs are all written in English too.
Health and security
- Health care in Israel and Jerusalem is universal and participation in a medical insurance plan is compulsory. All Israeli citizens are entitled to basic health care as a fundamental right. The Israeli healthcare system is based on the National Health Insurance Law of 1995, which mandates all citizens resident in the country to join one of four official health insurance organizations which are run as not-for-profit organizations, and are prohibited by law from denying any Israeli citizen membership. Israelis can increase their medical coverage and improve their options by purchasing private health insurance. In a survey of 48 countries in 2013, Israel’s health system was ranked fourth in the world in terms of efficiency, and in 2014 it ranked seventh out of 51. In 2015, Israel was ranked sixth-healthiest country in the world by Bloomberg rankings.
- Jerusalem, was just voted one of the best cities for travelers in the world by a major travel magazine and, although there’s nowhere in the world that’s totally safe, Israel’s capital offers women travelers a level of safety and freedom no longer found in many other countries.
- Jerusalem is served by highly developed communication infrastructures, making it a leading logistics hub for Israel. The Jerusalem Central Bus Station, located on Jaffa Road, is the busiest bus station in Israel. It is served by Egged Bus Cooperative, which is the second-largest bus company in the world, The Dan serves the Bnei Brak-Jerusalem route along with Egged, and Superbusserves the routes between Jerusalem, Modi’in Illit, and Modi’in-Maccabim-Re’ut. The companies operate from Jerusalem Central Bus Station. Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and routes between Jerusalem and locations in the West Bank are served by the East Jerusalem Central Bus Station, a transportation hub located near the Old City’s Damascus Gate. The Jerusalem Light Rail initiated service in August 2011. According to plans, the first rail line will be capable of transporting an estimated 200,000 people daily, and has 23 stops. The route is from Pisgat Ze’ev in the north via the Old City and city center to Mt. Herzl in the south. Another work in progress is a new high-speed rail line from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which is scheduled to be completed in 2017. Its terminus will be a new underground station (80 m (262.47 ft) deep) serving the International Convention Center and the Central Bus Station, and is planned to be extended eventually to Malha station. Israel Railways operates train services to Malha train station from Tel Aviv via Beit Shemesh. Begin Expressway is one of Jerusalem’s major north-south thoroughfares; it runs on the western side of the city, merging in the north with Route 443, which continues toward Tel Aviv. Route 60 runs through the center of the city near the Green Line between East and West Jerusalem. Construction is progressing on parts of a 35-kilometer (22 mi) ring road around the city, fostering faster connection between the suburbs. The eastern half of the project was conceptualized decades ago, but reaction to the proposed highway is still mixed. Jerusalem is served by Ben Gurion Airport, some 50 km northwest of the Jerusalem, on the route to Tel Aviv. In the past it was also served by the local Atarot Airport. Atarot ceased operation in the year 2000.
The city is characterized by a hot-summer Mediterranean climate (Köppen: Csa ), with hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. Snow flurries usually occur once or twice a winter, although the city experiences heavy snowfall every three to four years, on average, with short-lived accumulation. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of 9.1 °C (48.4 °F); July and August are the hottest months, with an average temperature of 24.2 °C (75.6 °F), and the summer months are usually rainless. The average annual precipitation is around 550 mm (22 in), with rain occurring almost entirely between October and May. Snowfall is rare, and large snowfalls are even more rare. Jerusalem received over 30 centimetres (12 in) of snow on 13 December 2013, which nearly paralyzed the city. A day in Jerusalem has on average, 9.3 sunshine hours. With summers averaging similar temperatures as the coastline, the maritime influence from the Mediterranean Sea is strong, in particular given that Jerusalem is located on a similar latitude as scorching hot deserts not far to its east. Most of the air pollution in Jerusalem comes from vehicular traffic. Many main streets in Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more carbon monoxide released into the air. Industrial pollution inside the city is sparse, but emissions from factories on the Israeli Mediterranean coast can travel eastward and settle over the city.