Why is Jerusalem important to Jews?
Jerusalem was captured from the Canaanites by King David, the greatest of the ancient Israelite Kings. He made it his capital, and had hoped to build a temple to his God there; however his purpose was frustrated because of his many wars and also because of his adultery with Bathsheba. His son and successor, also the last king of the United Kingdom of Israel, King Solomon, built the Jewish Temple there, which remained until the city was destroyed by the Romans. The Jewish people believed that God Himself dwelled within the Temple "sanctum sanctorum," or "holy of holies." It became the most sacred place in the world to Judaism, even after the diaspora. The remnant of the ancient Temple conprises the famous "wailing wall."
The basic answer here is that Jerusalem has always been seen as the holiest city for the Jewish faith. The reason for this is that Jerusalem was the site of the main temple of the Jewish faith. Because the temple was located in Jerusalem, the city was seen as the center of the faith. It was where Jews would go to celebrate the holiest festivals. It was the direction in which they would face when they prayed.
Since the temple was in Jerusalem, and since the Jewish religion revolved around rites conducted in the temple, Jerusalem was the center of the faith. This is why Jerusalem was and still is important to Jews.
In 1000 BCE, Jerusalem was established as the center of the Jewish Nation by King David and Solomon, the son of David, commissioned the building of Solomon's temple, the holiest shrine in the Jewish nation. The wailing wall, or the Western Wall is the only remaining portion of the second temple and is the second holiest site to Jewish people, second only to the Holy of Holies on the Temple Mount.
Most Jewish synagogues are built with the Holy Ark facing Jerusalem in order to indicate the significance of the city as the center of Judaism.
The connection of the Jews to Jerusalem is an ancient and powerful one. It was made a holy city over three thousand years ago and those of Jewish faith have continued that belief throughout time. To this day those of Jewish faith will pray in the direction of Jerusalem.
The significance of Jerusalem to the Jewish people predates the building of the first temple. While the First Temple has made it very important and that was the goal of King David, there is reference made to Abraham entering the city of Shalem in Bereshit. Shalem(city of peace) is the city where the first Jewish person entered.
Because a long time ago there was an old temple there. That temple was destroyed by the Romans, 2000 years ago, but religious Jews still want to believe Jerusalem is the most important place for Jewish people. They believe God personally gave this land/temple to them sevrel thousand yeas ago, and so, it is 'special'.
The modern Jewish/Arab conflict is based on the Jew's belief that they were given 'Israel' by God and they that Israel is God's 'gift' and it is a valid claim, even in the modern world. Jerusalem is the cental point of the Jew's Holy Land.