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Jerusalem is important to Jews as the historic and traditional capital of ancient Israel. It was captured by King David, the greatest of the Hebrew Kings, and became his capital. It was there that the Temple of Solomon, the holiest site in Judaism was erected. The wailing wall, a remaining ruin from the temple is still there.
For Christians, who share much of their heritage with Judaism, Jerusalem is also important as the historic capital of ancient Israel, but it also marks the place where Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead.
Islam considers it holy as it was from Jerusalem that Muhammad, in a dream, asended from the dome of the rock into heaven before returning to earth.
Jerusalem is an interesting city indeed. In addition to what #2 said, I think it is significant that so many religions find the area holy. It is sad that there has been so much fighting and bloodshed over it, but the fact that it is so important to these different groups should gain it respect from all.
Nowadays, the city has become important for reasons that oo beyond the original religious reasons set out in Post #2. Muslims and Jews, in particular, see the city as a symbol of an area that they believe should be theirs. They care for reasons that have much more to do with power and domination that with religion.
Apparently thats where jesus comes back in the second coming:))) yeaayaw buddy!!! Cus, like thats his country. yeah?
In accord with Post #4, Jerusalem is more significant for reasons of power and domination. Studies have revealed that many, many citizens of Israel are non- practicing Jews. There is a high percentage of Israelis who identify themselves as secular, rejecting the practice of the Jewish religion; instead they perceive themselves in a merely symbolic identification, instead embracing a thoroughgoing secularism and basing their Jewishness entirely in ethnicity and secular customs.
I believe that the city is symbolic for different people for different reasons. One could only assume why the city is important to specific religions based upon their own speculations. Without being a member of one of the groups mentioned, one cannot define exactly what Jerusalem means to the groups.
As for myself, as a Christian, I look at Jerusalem as being a city with true religious ties to the root of my own beliefs. Outside of that, I do wish that I could visit it (based upon its historical significance), but worry about the constant bloodshed and fighting which ensues on its grounds.
There was a fascinating PBS program on this topic a while back; you may be interested in tracking it down and taking a look at it. All the previous answers (with the possible exception of # 5) make good points. I sometimes do worry that the ultimate significance of Jerusalem for all humans may eventually be that it may prove to be the city that will help provoke atomic war. How ironic and sad that would be.
My friend gave me a "poem":
i could never forget
the flame of your city
i maing you burning my heart
carsessing every minute
palstine has fill in my love
and my hands have touched you
is it the magic of your lake
or are your eyes and passion
many cities i have seen
but on one like your fantasy
the messngers of your history
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