Summer exposure to the sun’s rays in Jerusalem is intense because of the lack of clouds and the low humidity but also because the sun reaches such a high angle (80° above the horizon) at that season. Its elevation ensures the free mixing of surface air, and, apart from automobile exhaust, pollutant sources are few, for there is little heavy industry.Lying on the watershed between the relatively rainy Hare Yehuda (Hills of Judaea) and the dry Judaean desert, Jerusalem has both Mediterranean and Irano-Turanian vegetation.The municipal boundaries, extended by Israel in June 1967 and again in 1993, stretch from the closed Atarot Airport in the north to a point almost reaching the West Bank town of Bethlehem in the south and from the ridge of Mount Scopus and the Mount of Olives in the east to Mount Herzl, ʿEn Kerem, and the Hadassah Medical Centre of the Hebrew University in the west.
The following year Israel declared the city its capital.
During the Six-Day War of 1967, the Jewish state occupied the Jordanian sector and shortly thereafter expanded the city boundaries—thereby annexing some areas of the West Bank previously held by the Jordanians—and extended its jurisdiction over the unified city. (For more information on the conflict between Israel and the Arabs, Jerusalem plays a central role in the spiritual and emotional perspective of the three major monotheistic religions.
The absence of vehicular traffic within most of the Old City helps preserve its special character.
In recognition of its central place in the traditions and histories of numerous peoples, the Old City was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1981.
Yet outside the walls Jerusalem is in every sense a modern city, with its network of streets and transportation, high-rise buildings, supermarkets, businesses, schools, restaurants, and coffeehouses.