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Jerusalem at the center of Palestine-Israel naming dispute

Within the scope of its Judaization policy, Israel has changed the names of several cities and places, including the Arabic name it uses to refer to Jerusalem.

Shortly after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967 it faced a problem in how to refer to Jerusalem in Arabic. Not wanting to use the Arabic name al-Quds, the Israelis came up with a compromise by inserting the biblical Jewish name Urashalim. Listeners to Israel’s radio broadcasts in Arabic, for instance, were informed before and after every news bulletin that the station was reporting from Urashalim al-Quds. Combining the Jewish and the Arabic term reflected what then was the prevalent Israeli attitude of treating the holy city as a crucible of religions. Israel’s mayor of Jerusalem at the time, Teddy Kollek, regularly referred to the mosaic of the city in reference to its diversity and pluralistic nature, residents and religions.

But over the years, Israelis lessened their pluralistic effort as they embarked on a strategic policy to make the city more Jewish. Arabic names were slowly changed to Hebrew ones. Nablus Road, one of East Jerusalem's major roads, became Derech Shechem, a reference to the Hebrew term for Nablus. This policy often causes confusion that is reflected, for instance, by the questions posed on the travel advisory website TripAdvisor.

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