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Jerusalem Gets the PBS Treatment

As the site of — depending on how one worships — Abraham’s divinely-commanded sacrifice (and last minute recall) of his son, Jesus’s resurrection from the dead and Mohammed’s ascension to heaven, Jerusalem is no longer the “militarily and strategically” insignificant spot 35 miles off the coast of Mediterranean, that it was 40 centuries ago, according to a documentary that airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. on PBS.

Jerusalem: Center of the World” is a two-hour long exploration, two years in the making, of a city that is the spiritual focus for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, in whose name more than a hundred wars have been undertaken, and unthinkably countless more have died.

From Two Cats Productions — directed by veteran filmmaker Andrew Goldberg, and co-written and narrated by Ray Suarez, a senior correspondent with PBS’ “The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer”— the camera pans past sweeping views of forests, deserts and camels at sunset, and attempts to unravel the archeology and oral traditions of the city and the faiths that lay claim to it.

Suarez probes the city for remnants of a Jerusalem as described in the Hebrew and Christian Bibles, the Talmud, the Hagaddah, the Koran and the Hadith. He finds it at the same wall that the Biblical King David faced in the 10th century B.C.E., capturing the city; at the Dome of the Rock (a.k.a. Temple Mount) — usually off-limits to non-Muslims. Bit by bit he builds a picture of a city that, like an M.C. Escher painting, seems to contain more facets than is physically possible — making it, as one newspaper so rationally puts it — the world’s most contested real estate.

To see the trailer, click here.

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