The Bible describes how over 3000 years ago King David captured Jerusalem and settled there himself. The place was subsequently named the City of David (1 Kings 2:11, 2 Sam 5:5). These words about David confirm that the Jewish people have had a relationship with Jerusalem for about 3,000 years, something which is also confirmed by archaeological findings. After the death of King David, his son Solomon built a temple on the site that is now called the temple mount. The ark with the covenant tablets was moved to the “Most holy place” in the temple, and for more than 1000 years thereafter Jerusalem was the obvious capital of Israel.
About 400 years after the temple was built, the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar conquered Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and took the Jewish people into captivity. After 70 years in Babylon, the Jewish people returned to their land to rebuild the temple. This temple was then expanded by King Herod the Great shortly before the beginning of common era, but it was destroyed again, this time by the Roman general Titus, just under 2000 years ago.
Despite entry bans, deportations and massacres from the various empires that dominated the area during different eras, there has always been a Jewish presence in the country. Moreover, among the many Jews who lived scattered around the world, the dream of returning to Israel was kept alive for centuries. Several times a year they prayed – no matter where in the world they were – the classic prayer: “Next year in Jerusalem.”
The city has been occupied by Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans and British, but Jerusalem has never been the capital of any country other than Israel.
In 1949, the modern state of Israel proclaimed Jerusalem as its capital. The year before, the city had been divided, since Jordan occupied the eastern part – which meant the expulsion of the Jews and the demolition of synagogues. Then in 1967 Jordan, together with 12 other Arab countries, formed a coalition against Israel, but this aggression was beaten back in the Six-Day War, and East Jerusalem came under Israeli control. In 1980 the Israeli parliament, Knesset, passed the “Jerusalem Law”, which declares all of Jerusalem to be the capital of Israel.