The holiest city in the world is also the top-ranked city in the Middle East in the New7Wonders international competition.
Beginning this past January, more than 1,200 cities in 220 countries around the world contended for the honor of being named the top seven cities of the world. The number of semi-finalists has been narrowed down to just over 300 so far. In the Middle East, Jerusalem is ranked first, and Tel Aviv is ranked third.
The competition has also granted the Palestinian Authority the status of an independent sovereign entity, named Palestine, despite the internationally-recognized Oslo Accords and a lack of recognition by the United Nations. Within the PA territories, Bethlehem and Jericho have been listed in the top 10 cities.
The Iranian capital of Tehran has also apparently been cited as popular, gaining status in the Middle East at a rank of number 12.
Voting is continuing, with semi-finals to be decided in November and December of this year. The winning top seven international cities in the New7Wonders: Cities will be revealed on December 7, 2013. Such competitions often bring much more tourism to Israel, and contribute greatly to the economy.