Jerusalem Syndrome: How Does it Affect Tourists?

Dome of the Rock in JerusalemJerusalem is overflowing with historical places and religious sites that are spiritual for people all over the world and is considered holy by three religions. One of the most visited cities in the world, tourists often go around the holy city of Jerusalem to explore and strengthen their faith.

Some even experience delusions of identifying with a character from the Bible on spending time in Jerusalem.

What Exactly is Jerusalem Syndrome?

Wailing Wall in JerusalemThe phenomenon is called Jerusalem syndrome which causes psychosis even to perfectly healthy people that do not have a history of mental illness. It causes those who are affected to assume the characteristics of the Bible character that they identify with, and become disturbed. Although one thing they have in common is that most of those who experienced this came from an over-religious family.

In recent events, many people are worried about Jerusalem’s cultural heritage after a religious attack happened at the Israel Museum by a man who seemed to be experiencing this syndrome. A 40-year old Jewish-American tourist was arrested by the police for vandalism after disfiguring two Roman statues that are centuries old. The American Jew found them to be idolatrous and contradicting the Torah. He has since been released but is subject to the order of going through a psychiatric evaluation.