The answer to the question “What is the capital of Israel?” is mired in controversy and debate. Before we get on to the different opinions, let us take a look at the creation of Israel itself.
Despite being the (Biblical) promised land of the Jews, there were very few followers of Judaism living in and around Jerusalem until the early 1800s.The end of the century saw a new awakening of Jewish nationalism and the rise of a demand for a Jewish state in Palestine. The efforts of Zionist organizations and the Balfour Declaration fanned this demand. Stiff opposition was offered by the Arabs, though. The land remained torn by conflict and violence between the two communities through the two world wars.
Finally, on November 29th, 1947, the newly constituted United Nations (General Assembly) adopted a resolution to divide Palestine (under British administration) into two separate states – a Jewish state and the other Arab.
Israel’s declaration of independence on May 14th, 1948, led to the establishment of the Jewish state and Israel won international recognition from the US, the USSR, and the UN, but the region still remained war torn. Following the Arab- Israeli war of 1948, West Jerusalem came under the control of Israel, and by the end of the 1967 war with Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Israel occupied East Jerusalem effectively putting the entire city under Israeli administration. While Tel Aviv has remained the economic and cultural hub, Israel claims Jerusalem to be its capital city. This, however, has not been acknowledged by the international community.
Last year, on December 6th, 2017, US President Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and initiated the process of moving the American embassy to the city. The move, however, has drawn a great deal of criticism from many UN member countries and has been called detrimental to the peace restoration process in the region.