Mount of Olives in Wikipedia
The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: הר הזיתים,
Har HaZeitim ;Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور, Jebel az-Zeitun)
is a mountain ridge in east Jerusalem with three peaks
running from north to south. The highest, at-Tur, rises
to 818 meters (2,683 ft). It is named for the olive
groves that covers its slopes. The Mount of Olives is
associated with Jewish and Christian traditions.
Two of the many Rock-cut tombs in ancient Israel;
traditionally, the tombs of Zechariah and Beit Hezir.
From Biblical times until today, Jews have been buried on
the Mount of Olives. The necropolis on the southern ridge,
the location of the modern village of Silwan, was the burial
place of the city's most important citizens in the period of
the Biblical kings. There are an estimated 150,000 graves
on the Mount, including tombs traditionally associated with
Zechariah and Avshalom (Absalom). Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar,
author of Ohr Hachaim Hakadosh, is also buried there.
Important rabbis from the 15th to the 20th centuries are
buried there, among them Abraham Isaac Kook, the first
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and his son Zvi Yehuda
During the Islamization of Jerusalem under Jordanian
occupation form 1948 to 1967, Jewish burials were halted,
massive vandalism took place, and 40,000 of the 50,000
graves were desecrated. King Hussein permitted
the construction of the Intercontinental Hotel at the summit
of the Mount of Olives together with a road that cut through
the cemetery which destroyed hundreds of Jewish graves, some
from the First Temple Period. After the Six-Day
War, restoration work began, and the cemetery was re-opened
Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the Mount
during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. The
religious ceremony marking the start of a new month was held
on the Mount of Olives in the days of the Second Temple.
After the destruction of the Temple, Jews celebrated the
festival of Sukkot on the Mount of Olives. They made
pilgrimages to the Mount of Olives because it was 80 meters
higher than the Temple Mount and offered a panoramic view of
the Temple site. It became a traditional place for lamenting
the Temple's destruction, especially on Tisha B'Av. In
1481, an Italian Jewish pilgrim, Rabbi Meshulam Da Volterra,
wrote: "And all the community of Jews, every year, goes up
to Mount Zion on the day of Tisha B'Av to fast and mourn,
and from there they move down along Yoshafat Valley and up
to Mount of Olives. From there they see the whole Temple
(the Temple Mount) and there they weep and lament the
destruction of this House." In the mid-1850s, the
villagers of Silwan were paid £100 annually by the Jews in
an effort to prevent the desecration of graves on the mount.
Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin asked to be buried on
the Mount of Olives near the grave of Etzel member Meir
Feinstein, rather than Mount Herzl national cemetery.
Religious significance -
Biblical references -
The Mount of Olives is first mentioned in connection with
David's flight from Absalom (II Samuel 15:30): "And David
went up by the ascent of the Mount of Olives, and wept as he
went up." The ascent was probably east of the City of David,
near the village of Silwan. The sacred character of the
mount is alluded to in the Ezekiel (11:23): "And the glory
of the Lord went up from the midst of the city, and stood
upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city."
Solomon built altars to the gods of his wives on the
southern peak (I Kings 11:7-8). During the reign of King
Josiah, the mount was called the Mount of Corruption (II
Kings 23:13). An apocalyptic prophecy in the Book of
Zechariah states that Yahweh will stand on the Mount of
Olives and the mountain will split in two, with one half
shifting north and one half shifting south (Zechariah 14:4).
The biblical designation Har HaMashchit derives from the
idol worship there, begun by King Solomon's Moabite and
Ammonite wives "on the mountain which is before (east of)
Jerusalem" (Kings I 11:17), just outside the limits of the
holy city. This site was infamous for idol worship
throughout the First Temple period, until king of Judah
Josiah finally destroyed "the high places that were before
Jerusalem, to the right of Har HaMashchit,..."
Christian references -
The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New
Testament (Matthew 21:1 ;26:30, etc.) as the route from
Jerusalem to Bethany and the place where Jesus stood when he
wept over Jerusalem. Jesus is said to have spent time on the
mount, teaching and prophesying to his disciples (Matthew
24-25), including the Olivet discourse, returning after each
day to rest (Luke 21:37), and also coming there on the night
of his betrayal (Matthew 26:39 ). At the foot of the Mount
of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemane. The New Testament,
tells how Jesus and his friends sang together - "When they
had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives"
Gospel of Matthew 26:30. Jesus ascended to heaven from the
Mt of Olives as recorded in the book of Acts 1:9-12...