Should the US declare Jerusalem the capital of Israel?

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NOTE: Given the complexity and significance of today’s subject, this Daily Article is longer than usual.

“I have determined that it is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel,” President Trump announced yesterday. After his statement, Palestinian protesters burned photos of the president in Gaza City. By contrast, the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City were lit with the colors of the American and Israeli flags.

Why is this such a controversial and divisive issue?

I have been to the Holy Land more than twenty times. Each time, I am amazed again by the complexities surrounding Jerusalem, the religious capital of more than half the world’s population.

Rather than make a case for one position, I will survey the history of the Holy City and briefly outline the various arguments on this divisive issue. Then I will ask you to join me in a commitment to two principles that transcend controversy and advance God’s Kingdom.

An introduction to Jerusalem

Jerusalem has been continuously inhabited for almost six thousand years. Three millennia ago, it was captured by King David and made the capital of his kingdom (2 Samuel 5:6-10). His son Solomon built his palace and the first temple there (1 Kings 6-7).

Babylon destroyed the city and its temple in 586 BC; they were rebuilt after the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great liberated the Jews in 538 BC. King Herod enlarged the temple and city greatly, but both were destroyed by the Romans in AD 70. Emperor Hadrian rebuilt the city in AD 129-30, naming it Aelia Capitolina. When Constantine became emperor, he changed the name back to Jerusalem in AD 324.

In AD 614, the Persian army conquered the city and destroyed most of its churches. Muslims called the city “el-Quds,” meaning “the holy.” They believe that the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven from a rock in Jerusalem known as the Foundation Stone. (Jews believe this rock is where the creation of the world began and was the location of…

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