Holy Land

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{church, century, christian}
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{area, part, region}
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The Holy Land (also known as Bilad Ash'Sham in Arabic) is a term which refers to the geographical region of the Levant of no definite borders which has significant religious importance for Judaism, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá'í Faith. Nowadays, it comprises roughly the territory of Israel, the Palestinian territories and parts of Jordan and Lebanon. Part of the significance of the land stems from the religious significance of Jerusalem, the holiest city to Judaism, the birthplace of Christianity, and the third-holiest to Islam. The perceived holiness of the land to Christianity was the ideological driving force behind the Crusades. The land has been a destination for religious pilgrimages since biblical times.

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Judaism

The Tanakh does not refer to the Land of Israel as "holy land"; but as land given to the Israelites by God, and commonly referred to as the "promised land". Only occasionally is it referred to as the holy land. The cities of ancient Israel, on the other hand, are at times referred to as holy cities. According to the list of "Four Holy Cities", Jerusalem, Hebron, Tzfat and Tiberias are regarded as Judaism's holiest cities. Jerusalem, as the site of the Temple, has been the spiritual focus of Judaism.[1]

Jerusalem is mentioned 669 times in the Hebrew Bible. Zion, which usually means Jerusalem, sometimes the Land of Israel, appears 154 times. In the Book of Genesis, the area of Jerusalem called Mount Moriah, the location of the binding of Isaac, is believed by many to be the Temple Mount.

In the Hebrew Bible, Jerusalem and the Land of Israel are considered a divine gift, part of several covenants. Jerusalem has long been embedded into Jewish religious consciousness. Jews have studied and personalized the struggle by King David to capture Jerusalem and his desire to build the Jewish temple there, as described in the Book of Samuel and the Book of Psalms. Many of King David's yearnings about Jerusalem have been adapted into popular prayers and songs. Jerusalem is mentioned in many Jewish prayers; the Passover seder prayer ends with Next year in Jerusalem. Jews turn towards Jerusalem to pray. The Western Wall of the Temple of Jerusalem, also known as the "Wailing Wall," has been a site of Jewish pilgrimage for centuries. It and the Temple Mount are considered the holiest sites to Jews.

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