Jerusalem is hardly a real estate issue. It is at the heart of the Israel-Arab impasse, for it relates fundamentally to history, theology and national identity. Jerusalem is at the heart of religious identity for Jews – we pray each day toward Jerusalem and for its welfare, we regularly read the biblical accounts of our forefathers that take place in the city’s environs, and we conclude our holiest days with the prayer that next year we will celebrate in Jerusalem. Historically, King David made Jerusalem his capital 3,000 years ago, and since then Jerusalem has been the national capital of the Jewish people; only brute force has kept them out.
From 1948-1967, when the Old City and eastern parts of Jerusalem fell under Jordanian rule, Jews were barred entry to the Old City, denied worship at the Western Wall at the foot of the Temple Mount, and denied access to the ancient cemeteries on the Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. Following the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel recaptured and unified the entire city and opened the holy sites of all faiths to all people.