A large collective of people who share a single ethnic origin, a common
language, a distinctive history, culture, heritage and tradition and at times
even a unique religion – that is a nation. A nation resides in a defined
territory that as a rule it constructed and maintained. Where is the land and
homeland of the People of the Book? Where is the homeland of the Palestinian
The ancient kingdoms and empires conquered and subjugated foreign lands,
enslaved and banished its residents, damaged its property and compromised its
freedom. The Land of Israel did not escape that fate. It was ruled
heavy-handedly by seven powers: Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Hellenistic,
Roman and Byzantine, all of which abandoned it after exploiting it. The last
among them, the Arab-Moslem power, forcibly holds on to it and continues to
inflict damage upon it even today.
Conventional wisdom has it that Jerusalem is sacred to the three monotheistic
religions. Below we will discuss the roots of this “sanctity” and its
manifestations, by surveying the approach of the three to the Land of Israel.
The discussion will comprise four chapters. We will begin with the names of the
Land and of Jerusalem in the sources of the various religions, we will continue
with a survey of the construction and design of the country’s landscapes,
Jerusalem’s status as a capital city and finally – each religion’s connection to
Jerusalem. We will conclude with a question: Who is the occupier of the land of
Israel? Which nation’s land was occupied?
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