Jerusalem (Hebrew: יְרוּשָׁלַיִם About this sound (audio) (help·info), Yerushaláyim (for the meaning, see below); Arabic: القُدس About this sound (audio) (help·info), al-Quds Sharif, lit. "The Holy Sanctuary"; Yiddish: ירושלים Yərusholáyəm)[ii] is the capital[iii] of Israel and, if including the area and population of East Jerusalem, its largest city in both population and area, with a population of 763,800 residents over an area of 125.1 km2 (48.3 sq mi).[iv] Located in the Judean Mountains, between the Mediterranean Sea and the northern edge of the Dead Sea, modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the boundaries of the Old City.
The oldest part of the city, the City of David, was settled in the 4th millennium BCE, making Jerusalem one of the oldest cities in the world. Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism and has been the spiritual center of the Jewish people since c. 1000 BCE, when David the King of Israel first established it as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel (Psalms 122), and his son Solomon commissioned the building of the First Temple in the city. Jerusalem is also considered a holy city in Christianity and contains a number of significant Christian sites, and, due to the mentioning of 'The Farthest Mosque' in the Qur'an (Sura al-Isra) and the subsequent building of a mosque called 'the Farthest Mosque' on the Temple Mount, Islam regards Jerusalem as its third-holiest city. Despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometer (0.35 square mile), the Old City is home to sites of key religious importance, among them the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque. The old walled city, a World Heritage site, has been traditionally divided into four quarters, although the names used today—the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters—were introduced in the early 19th century. The Old City was nominated for inclusion on the List of World Heritage Sites in danger by Jordan in 1982. During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.
Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and considers it a part of Israel, although this has been repeatedly criticized by the United Nations and related bodies. Placing most foreign embassies in Tel Aviv and none in Jerusalem, the international community does not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. Israel, however, considers the entire city to be a part of Israel following its annexation of East Jerusalem through the Jerusalem Law of 1980.
All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel's parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court. Jerusalem is home to the Hebrew University and to the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book. The Jerusalem Biblical Zoo has ranked consistently as Israel's top tourist attraction for Israelis. The popular Teddy Stadium is considered one of the leading association football (soccer) stadiums in the country.