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Jerusalem: A Holy City

Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is considered a holy city by three major religions: Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. For centuries, Jerusalem has been a spiritual center. The three religions can be seen in the cultural landmarks (human made buildings that represent an idea or specific place) of Jerusalem and in the symbols used around the world to represent these religions. All three religions describe Abraham as an important figure in their early history. Muslims (followers of Islam) call Abraham, Ibrahim. Abraham and his family were nomads. They lived in tents and traveled from place to place in order to provide good grazing for their sheep. Abraham and his people are believed to have traveled in what is now the country of Israel, as well as areas that are now part of Syria, Turkey, Jordan, and Iraq. All three religions describe Abraham as the father of two sons, Isaac and Ishmael. Jews consider Isaac to be their ancestor, and Arabs consider Ishmael to be their ancestor. Jesus, whom Christians believe to be the son of God, lived in this area also. Knowing that the three religions share a common history and geography, it is not surprising that Jerusalem is considered holy by all three religions. Three-fourths of today's population of Jerusalem are Jews (followers of Judaism). Jerusalem has been of religious and political importance to Judaism since Biblical times. To honor God, the Jews built over the ages a series of Temples in Jerusalem, which became the focus of Jewish religious practices and beliefs. The Jewish holy book called the Tanakh describes how important Jerusalem is for Jews. Today, a very important cultural landmark in Jerusalem is the Western Wall (formerly called the Wailing Wall) which is a symbol of the ancient Temples. Today, Jews say prayers at this stone wall, and often prayers are written on small pieces of paper and left in cracks in the wall. Other important Jewish religious sites in Jerusalem are King David's Tomb, the Jewish Cemetery, and Tombs of the Prophets. A cultural symbol used to recognize Judaism is a six-pointed star like the one on Israel's flag.

Jerusalem is Islam's third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. Muslims believe that Muhammad visited heaven from a site in Jerusalem. Muhammad was an Arab prophet who preserved the word of God (called Allah) in a sacred book called the Quran. At this spot in Jerusalem, a golden domed shrine called the Dome of the Rock was built. This cultural landmark covers the stone from where Muhammad ascended to heaven. Today, Muslims visit the Dome of the Rock for religious purposes. Another Islamic religious site in Jerusalem is an ancient mosque (a building where Muslims pray) called Al Aqsa. The green and white flag of Pakistan shows a cultural symbol for Muslims. It is a crescent moon and a star.

Christians (followers of Christianity) also consider Jerusalem a holy city. Many sites mentioned in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible (the holy book of the Christians) are located in Jerusalem. Jesus taught his followers and performed miracles in this city. The Via Dolorosa (Way of Sorrows) was the path Jesus walked while carrying a cross to Calvary. Calvary is the site where Jesus's body was nailed to the cross, and where he died, and was resurrected (ascended to heaven). In this location, a cultural landmark was created called the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Therefore, this spot is very special to Christians. Christians also use a symbol to identify their religion. This symbol is a cross as shown on Norway's flag.

The presence of three religions has also led to violence. Each religion has at times sought to be in control of the area. Currently, Israel and Jerusalem are dominated by a Jewish leadership; however, work is continuing on allowing tolerance and political rights for those of other religious groups especially the Palestinian Muslims and Christians living in Israel.

Assessment Worksheet Jerusalem

Name_________________________ Period________

Directions: Read the article "Jerusalem: A Holy City," then answer the following questions. Questions 1-5 should be answered in COMPLETE SENTENCES. 1. Which religions consider Jerusalem a holy city? ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 2. Which religion has as a cultural landmark, the Dome of the Rock?_______________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 3. Which religion uses a cross as a symbol?___________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 4. Why is the Western Wall of such special significance to the Jews?_______________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ 5. Why would a country put a cross, a six-pointed star, or a crescent moon and a star on its flag? ______________________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________

______6. Which of the following is an important cultural landmark for the Christians? A. B. C. D. Mecca and Medina the Tombs of the Prophets the ancient mosque of Al Aqsa the Via Dolorosa

______7. What is the author's purpose in writing this selection? A. B. C. D. to inform people about Jerusalem to persuade people to be Christians to explain about Judaism to create a travel guide to Jerusalem

______8. What is the main idea of this selection? A. Jerusalem is the third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. B. Cultural landmarks are human-made buildings that represent an idea or characterize a specific place. C. Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is considered a holy city by three major religions. D. Many sites mentioned in the Old and New Testament of the Bible are located in Jerusalem. ______9. Which of the following statements is the best conclusion for this selection? A. The cross, the Star of David, and the crescent moon and star are ancient symbols. B. The presence of three religions has led to violence in Jerusalem. C. The Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher can still be seen today. D. Most of the tourists who visit Jerusalem are Christians.

Assessment KEY Jerusalem

Name_________________________ Period________

Directions: Read the article "Jerusalem: A Holy City," then answer the following questions. Questions 1-5 should be answered in COMPLETE SENTENCES. 1. Which religions consider Jerusalem a holy city? Jerusalem is considered a holy city by the religions of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. 2. Which religion has as a cultural landmark, the Dome of the Rock? The religion of Islam considers the Dome of the Rock its cultural landmark. 3. Which religion uses a cross as a symbol? The religion of Christianity uses the cross as its symbol. 4. Why is the Western Wall of such special significance to the Jews? The Western Wall is of special significance to the Jews because the Jews built a series of temples to mark the spot where Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his son. 5. Why would a country put a cross, a six-pointed star, or a crescent moon and a star on its flag? A country might use one of these symbols on its flag to represent the religion of most of its citizens. A country might use one of these symbols because it is proud to represent one of these religions. A country might use one of these symbols because it might provide protection to its people.

D

6. Which of the following is an important cultural landmark for the Christians? A. B. C. D. Mecca and Medina the Tombs of the Prophets the ancient mosque of Al Aqsa the Via Dolorosa

A 7. What is the author's purpose in writing this selection? A. B. C. D. to inform people about Jerusalem to persuade people to be Christians to explain about Judaism to create a travel guide to Jerusalem

C 8. What is the main idea for this selection? A. Jerusalem is the third holiest city, after Mecca and Medina. B. Cultural landmarks are human-made buildings that represent an idea or characterize a specific place. C. Jerusalem, the capital city of Israel, is considered a holy city by three major religions. D. Many sites mentioned in the Old and New Testament of the Bible are located in Jerusalem.

B 9. Which of the following statements is the best conclusion for this selection? A. The cross, the Star of David, and the crescent moon and star are ancient symbols. B. The presence of three religions has led to violence in Jerusalem. C. The Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher can still be seen today. D. Most of the tourists who visit Jerusalem are Christians.

Explosions Rock Jerusalem Mall At Least Eight Killed, More Than 130 Injured, Israeli Officials Say By JASON KEYSER Reprinted with Permission of the Associated Press JERUSALEM (Dec. 1, 2001) - Two suicide bombers detonated powerful explosives in a crowded pedestrian mall in downtown Jerusalem late Saturday, killing themselves and at least six people and wounding more than 130, police and paramedics said. Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres said it was "one of the worst (attacks) we have ever seen.'' There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but the militant Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups have threatened to carry out attacks in Israel to avenge the killing of Hamas' military leader in the West Bank in an Israeli missile attack last week. The back-to-back blasts went off sometime before midnight Saturday. "There were lots of limbs and dead bodies,'' said Michael Perry, 37, who ran out of a bar along the Ben Yehuda pedestrian mall after hearing the explosions. "I saw three dead and what looked like the remains of the suicide bomber. It was just a lump of something,'' Perry said. Another bystander, Eli Shetreet, 19, said he saw bodies being hurled in the air. "A lot of people were crying, falling, and there was the smell of burning hair,'' he said. The blasts were so powerful that they shattered the windows of cars parked a block away. Blood splattered storefronts. Patrons of cafes huddled indoors, behind closed doors. A young man and woman sitting in the corner of one cafe held on to each other. Teen-age girls and boys were screaming and crying into mobile phones, talking to their parents, trying to find their friends in the chaos. Shortly after the suicide bombings, an explosion went off in a car parked near the mall, said Police Chief Mickey Levy. Apparently no one was hurt in that explosion. At the sound of the third explosion, pedestrians ran up the street in a panic. Paramedics said at least 130 people were wounded, many of people in their late teens and 20s. Among the wounded were 11 in very serious condition. "This is a great catastrophe. There are many, many casualties,'' said Health Minister Nissim Dahan, who was touring area hospitals. "We are almost at the limit of our capacity to take in the wounded.'' The Ben Yehuda mall is usually packed with young Israelis on Saturday evening. The mall has been the target of suicide attacks in the past, including in 1997. Just up the block, on the corner of King George and Jaffa streets, a suicide bomber blew himself up last summer in a crowded pizzeria, killing himself and 15 diners.

Abdel Aziz Rantisi, a Hamas leader in the Gaza Strip, did not claim responsibility on behalf of the group, but said Hamas would continue carrying out attacks. "We have said several times that we are not going to accept the occupation to remain in our land,'' Rantisi said. "We are fighting Jewish terrorism, we are fighting the killers and defending our freedom, our stability, and our dignity.'' Saturday's bombings came only two days after an Islamic Jihad militant blew himself up on an Israeli bus, killing three passengers and himself. The attacks also came at a time when a senior U.S. envoy, retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, is trying to secure a cease-fire. However, since Zinni's arrival last week, there has been an upsurge in violence, especially by Palestinian militants trying to derail his mission. Zinni has said he would not be deterred by violence, and would stay in the region as long as it takes.

Map of Israel

Source: CIA Factbook, 2001, web edition, <www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geo/is.html

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