Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, though not internationally recognized as such. If the area and population of East Jerusalem is included, it is Israel's largest city in both population and area, with a population of 763,800 residents over an area of 125.1 km2 (48.3 sq mi). Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the boundaries of the Old City.
The Jerusalem is a holy city to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. In Judaism, Jerusalem has been the holiest city since, according to the Torah, King David of Israel first established it as the capital of the United Kingdom of Israel in c. 1000 BCE, and his son Solomon commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city. In Christianity, Jerusalem has been a holy city since, according to the New Testament, Jesus was crucified in c. 30 CE and 300 years later Saint Helena found the True Cross in the city. In Sunni Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city.It became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (Salah) in 610 CE,and, according to Islamic tradition, Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later. As a result, and despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to sites of key religious importance, among them the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.
During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged twenty three times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times. The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium BCE, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were introduced in the early 19th century. The Old City was nominated for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in Danger by Jordan in 1982.
Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the central part issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. After the 1967 Arab Israeli battle, Israel annexed East Jerusalem (which was controlled by Jordan following the 1948 war) and considers it a part of Israel, although the international community has rejected the annexation as illegal and considers East Jerusalem to be Palestinian territory held by Israel under military occupation.Israel, however, considers the entire city to be a part of Israel following its annexation of East Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Law of 1980.
According to Palestinian CBS(Central Bureau of Statistics )208,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, which is sought as a future capital of a future Palestinian state. All the 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. The Jerusalem is home to the Hebrew University and to the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has ranked consistently as Israel's top tourist attraction for Israelis.
The Jerusalem is situated on the southern spur of a plateau in the Judean Mountains, which include the Mount of Olives (East) and Mount Scopus (North East). The elevation of an Old City is approximately 760 m (2,490 ft). The whole of the Jerusalem is surrounded by valleys and dry riverbeds (wadis). The Kidron, Hinnom, and Tyropoeon Valleys intersect in an area just south of an Old City of Jerusalem. The Kidron Valley runs to the east of an Old City and separates the Mount of Olives from the city proper. Along the southern side of old Jerusalem is the Valley of Hinnom, a steep ravine associated in biblical eschatology with the concept of Gehenna or Hell.The Tyropoeon Valley commenced in the northwest near the Damascus Gate, ran south-southeasterly through the center of an Old City down to the Pool of Siloam, and divided the lower part into 2 hills, the Temple Mount to the east, and the rest of the city to the west (the lower and the upper cities described by Josephus). Today, this valley is hidden by debris that has accumulated over the centuries.
In the biblical times, Jerusalem was bounded by forests of almond, olive and pine trees. More centuries of warfare and abandon, these forests were destroyed. Farmers in the Jerusalem region thus built stone terraces along the slopes to hold back the soil, a feature still very much in evidence in the Jerusalem landscape. Water supply has always been a major problem in the Jerusalem, as attested to by the intricate network of ancient aqueducts,tunnels, pools and cisterns found in the city
Jerusalem is 60 km (37 miles east of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranean Sea. On the opposite side of the city, approximately 35 km (22 miles)away, is the Dead Sea, the lowest body of water on Earth. Neighboring cities and towns include Bethlehem and Beit Jala to the south, Abu Dis and Ma'ale Adumim to the east, Mevaseret Zion to the west, and Ramallah and Giv'at Ze'ev to the north.
The city is characterized by a Mediterranean climate, with hot, dry summers, and mild, wet winters. Snow usually occurs once or twice a winter, although the city experiences heavy snowfall every 3 to four years on average. The month 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 mostly between October and May.
Most of the air pollution in the Jerusalem comes from vehicular traffic. Many main streets in the Jerusalem were not built to accommodate such a large volume of traffic, leading to traffic congestion and more CO 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.