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The Jews of Israel are currently locked into a conflict with their Palestinian Arab neighbors.

While the media bombards us with constant reports of violence in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, there is no doubt that the epicenter of the conflict lies in Jerusalem and more specifically on the Temple Mount in the Old City.

Israeli leaders, on the other hand, say that Jerusalem will remain under Israeli sovereignty, even as Barak offered significant autonomy over the Temple Mount and Palestinian Authority control over Arab sections of Jerusalem.

What historical or religious claim do both sides make?

Is either party's claim for Jerusalem stronger, or is it merely a case of "might makes right?

" The purpose of this article is not to prove or disprove anyone's claim to Jerusalem, but rather to help clear up some of the fog clouding this controversy and enable us to better understand both the Jewish and Muslim connection to this holy site.

Jewish Spiritual Connection to Jerusalem To understand the Jewish connection to Jerusalem we must begin with the Jewish Bible.

From the Jewish perspective, the area of special holiness is Mount Moriah, today known as the Temple Mount.

This area is located beneath the platform on which the Muslim Shrine, the Dome Of the Rock, now stands.

In the Jewish Bible, Jerusalem has many names: Salem (Shalem), Moriah, Jebuse (Yevuse), Jerusalem (Yerushalayim), and Zion (Tziyon).

The most common term for the city, Yerushalayim, is mentioned 349 times in the Jewish Bible, while Tziyon is mentioned an additional 108 times.

The earliest mention of the site is Genesis , when Abraham interacts with Malchizedek, King of Shalem.

According to Jewish tradition the story of the Binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:1-19) also takes place in the "land of Moriah" on the site of the present-day Temple Mount.

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