The Jewish claim to Jerusalem really needs no explanation to anyone schooled in a Judeo-Christian heritage. Jerusalem was the capital of King David’s Kingdom of Israel from around 1,000 bce. After the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 720 bce, Jerusalem remained the capital of the Kingdom of Judah until it too was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 bce. Thereafter the Jews, who originate in Judah (or Judea as it was known by the Romans), considered Jerusalem as their capital. There are over 800 references to Jerusalem in the Bible. Jerusalem was re-established as the capital when the Jews returned from exile led by the prophet Ezra around 458 bce. Later, Jerusalem was captured by the Romans in 70 ce, and subsequently controlled by the Byzantines, the Arabs, and the Turks, until it was captured by the British in 1917 and was then re-established as the capital of Israel in 1948.
It is not generally known that the Jews constituted a majority in Jerusalem since statistics were collected, starting in 1896 by the British, until the present day (see Figure).
In regard to Muslim claims on Jerusalem, it should be noted that Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Koran. The one reference in the Koran that is considered to refer to Jerusalem actually refers to “the northernmost Mosque.” Mohammed is supposed to have taken his night ride there on his steed Burak. But this is impossible, since Mohammed died in 632 ce and Jerusalem was not captured by Arab forces until 639 ce. Further, a Mosque was not erected on the Temple Mount until nearly 100 years later. In fact the Muslim claim to Jerusalem is a later fabrication, made to enhance their claim to the city. Scholars of Islam themselves have affirmed that Jerusalem has no truly sacred significance to Muslims.
A group of leaders of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation met in Istanbul this week under the sponsorship of Pres. Erdogan of Turkey. They affirmed their rejection of Pres. Trump’s declaration of recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. They rejected the US as a neutral mediator for the Palestinians and proposed to recognize East Jerusalem as the capital of a Palestinian State. Unfortunately for them, no such state exists. Further, if it did, it would be a failed state, much like the rest of the Muslim world, including Libya, Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen. Furthermore, there is competition between the Sunni States, lead by Turkey, and the Shia States, led by Iran, to out-do each other in their hateful statements about Israel and Jews. But, also, much of the Arab world, including the so-called moderate Sunni States, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt and the Gulf States, have kept a low profile on this subject.