Taking pride in the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.
Israelis celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification May 23-24. Leading up to the holy city’s semi-centennial milestone, here are 50 facts highlighting the rich tapestry of Israel’s capital:
- Jerusalem Day is an Israeli national holiday commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War.
- During the Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem, Jews were not allowed to access their holy sites, including the Western Wall.
- Jerusalem has been attacked 52 times, captured and recaptured 44 times, besieged 23 times, and destroyed twice over the course of 3,000 years.
- Israel is the only country to enter the 21st century with a net gain in its number of trees, and you can enjoy them over a picnic or barbecue in the Jerusalem Forest.
- The name “Jerusalem” most likely comes from “Urusalim,” a word of Semitic origin meaning “Foundation of Shalem (wholeness)” or “Foundation of God.”
- Jerusalem has more synagogues per capita than any city in the world.
- Jerusalem is the only city in which some 15 different Christian communities live alongside one another, according to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.
- Jerusalem is considered the eternal capital of the Jewish people.
- Jerusalem is the third-holiest city in Islam, outside of Mecca and Medina, both in Saudi Arabia.
- Jerusalem is mentioned more than 600 times in the Hebrew Bible, but not once in Islam’s Koran.
- In the Middle Ages, Jews were banned from Jerusalem by Christians, and Muslims later lifted the ban.
- There are more than 70 different Hebrew names for Jerusalem in Jewish scripture (e.g. Zion)
- Jerusalem is statistically safer than most large cities in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
- Jerusalem hotels record more than 2.5 million overnight stays by foreign tourists each year.
- Thirty-thousand people ran in this year’s Jerusalem Marathon.
- Jerusalem’s Mount of Olives is home to 150,000 Jewish graves, dating back to the 1400s.
- Under Israeli rule, Jews are not allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, their religion’s holiest site.
- The Old City of Jerusalem is divided into the Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Jewish Quarter and Armenian Quarter.
- The Dome of the Rock is not a mosque, but an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount.
- Although all branches of the Israeli government – and the Knesset – are headquartered in Jerusalem, the city is not home to any foreign embassies. President Donald Trump is considering moving the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
- The 2.5-mile-long walls around Jerusalem’s Old City were built in 1536 by Suleiman the Magnificent.
- Jerusalem has more than 2,000 archaeological sites.
- Archaeology proves that Jews have lived in Jerusalem since 3000 BCE.
- Archaeologists have found 3,800-year-old pottery in the City of David.
- Jerusalem has separate educational and religious systems for its Christian, Muslim and Jewish populations.
- Jerusalem has one of the highest-rated nightclubs in the world: Haoman 17.
- There are 26 wineries in Jerusalem, according to United with Israel.
- Bob Dylan held his eldest son Jesse’s bar mitzvah at the Western Wall.
- The actress Natalie Portman was born in Jerusalem.
- Jerusalem is Israel’s largest city in both landmass and population.
- Jerusalem’s population is comprised of 61 percent Jews, 36 percent Muslims, 1 percent Arab Christians and 1 percent non-Arab Christians.
- While the country’s self-identified “secular” Jewish population is 44 percent, Jerusalem’s secular Jewish population is just 19 percent.
- Of Jerusalem’s Muslim population, 62 percent identify as religious and just 1 percent identify as not observant.
- Jerusalem has had a Jewish demographic majority since 1864.
- Jerusalem represents about 0.001 percent of the landmass of the Middle East.
- Eighteen percent of Israel’s Arab population lives in Jerusalem, compared to 8 percent of Israel’s total Jewish population.
- Eleven percent of Jerusalem homeowners are foreign residents, compared to 3 percent in Israel at large.
- Thirty-four percent of Jerusalem’s Jews identify as charedi.
- Nearly 37 percent of all Jerusalem families live below the poverty line, which represents 61 percent of all Jerusalem’s children.
- Jerusalem is home to more than 400 high-tech companies.
- The number of high-tech start-ups in Jerusalem has grown from 200 to more than 600 since 2012.
- Fourteen percent of the Jerusalem workforce is self-employed.
- Arab families in Jerusalem are almost three times as likely to live below the poverty line compared to Jewish families in Jerusalem. This is attributed to a large difference in number of years in education.
- Seventy-nine percent of Jewish women in Jerusalem work, compared to 70 percent of Jewish men.
- Women in Jerusalem earn 25 percent less income than the average man, compared to 46 percent less in Tel Aviv.
- The Jerusalem-founded company Mobileye, bought by Intel this year, was part of the largest-ever acquisition of an Israeli technology company.
Immigration and Migration
- This year, a noticeably high proportion (almost 50 percent) of newcomers to Jerusalem were 20-34 years old.
- Of those who move to Jerusalem, 38 percent come from Beit Shemesh and Tel Aviv.
- Brazilian immigration to Jerusalem tripled during the past year.
- The new immigrant population of Jerusalem – those arriving in the past 20 years – represents about 13 percent of the city’s Jewish population.