Is “present day Jerusalem” a Jewish holy city? Is the location of “present day Jerusalem” is the same as that of the “earlier or first Jerusalem”? To answer these questions we must notice that Jerusalem has more than 70 names; and the “earlier or first Jerusalem” is specifically the site of Solomon’s Temple, also known as the First Temple (Hebrew: Beit HaMikdash). Beit HaMikdash was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar II after the Siege of the “earlier or first Jerusalem” in 586 BC.
The Second Temple (Hebrew: Beit HaMikdash HaSheni) was built in 516 BC under instructions from the Persian King Cyrus the Great who could had invented the Jews and sent them from Babylon to Judah to replace the Israelite. The returnees were not actually Israelite but rather Turkic Mongolian settlers similar to those who conquered and ruled Iran and Mesopotamia and turned them to Persia and Neo-Babylonia (in 550 BC and 626 BC respectively).
Many new fundamental political, ethnic, and religious changes took place with the coming of new settlers from Babylonia. There was swift basic shift of powers and culture from the earlier Hebrew to the new Jewish. These changes and Persian support for the Jews raise doubts and suggest that the location of the Second Temple was actually not in the same place of Solomon’s Temple. This situation created two different Beit HaMikdash (or Jerusalem). An earlier but destroyed one belongs to the Hebrew Israelite; and a second new city made by the Jews.
The situation becomes even more confusing with the Jewish claim that the city founded by the Romans (Aelia) was built on top of the ruins of the Second Temple. With this claim, there are three different possible locations for Solomon’s Temple or Beit HaMikdash (Jerusalem): 1. the location proposed by the few remaining Hebrew Israelite (First Temple); 2. The location used by Turkic settlers (Jews) in 516 BC to build another temple and call it the Second Temple (Beit HaMikdash HaSheni); and 3. The Roman city built in 130 AD (Aelia) to administrate the colony.
Aelia Capitolina was a Roman colony, built under the emperor Hadrian in 130 AD to be for his legionaries. For Arabs Aelia remained the common name for present-day Jerusalem until 1300 AD, when the Turkic Mamluk Sultanate for strange reasons adopted the Jewish name “Al-Quds” and their claims. The name “Aelia” came from Hadrian’s nomen gentile, Aelius, while Capitolina meant dedication to Jupiter Capitolinus, to whom a temple was built. The city was in the style of a typical Roman town. Jews were prohibited from entering the city. The ban was maintained until the 7th century, though Christians would soon be granted an exemption.
During the 4th century, the Roman Emperor Constantine I ordered the construction of Christian holy sites in the city, including the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. Burial remains from the Byzantine period are exclusively Christian, suggesting that the population of Aelia in Byzantine times consisted only of Christians. The Jews claim that Aelia was built on the site of the Second Temple and it is the same site of the Solomon’s First Temple; and therefore Aelia is Jerusalem. But would the Romans use a ruined holy site for Jews to build their city and temple? Surely, Aelia is a holy city for Christians and Muslims; but it is very doubtful it is holy for the Israelite and for the Jews. Jerusalem, Al-Quds, or Beit HaMikdash is not Aelia.
First we have to find the real Jerusalem, because most probably the present-day Jerusalem in not. It is Aelia and it was built by the Romans for their own use; and it doesn’t hold any holy Israelite or Palestinian site. It has mainly Christian holy sites and a single Islamic site. So, it belongs to Christians and Muslims.
Could Bethlehem be the Real Jerusalem?
A mysterious First Temple-era archaeological found under a Palestinian orchard near Bethlehem is increasingly gaining attention — despite attempts to keep it quiet.
The Hebrew Bible, which says that the city of Bethlehem was built up as a fortified city by Rehoboam, identifies it as the city David was from and where he was crowned as the king of Israel. The New Testament identifies Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. Bethlehem and present-day Jerusalem are both called “the city of David”!
Jerusalem means the place of Solomon’s Temple, the First Temple, wherever it is. Bethlehem or Girizim could be the real Jerusalem. There are archaeological discoveries around Bethlehem that intrigue scholars and relate them to the First Temple despite attempts to hush it up.