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View of Mt. of Olives
The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, , Har HaZeitim ; , Jebel az-Zeitun) is a mountain ridge in east Jerusalemmarker 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 once covered its slopes. The Mount of Olives is associated with Jewish and Christian traditions.

Religious significance

Biblical references

Absalom's Tomb (Yad Avshalom)
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 Davidmarker, near the village of Silwanmarker. 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).

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. It will be the Mt of Olives to which he is to return as stated in the book of Acts 1:11.

Jewish customs

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 Be-’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."

New Testament references

The Mount of Olives is frequently mentioned in the New Testament ( ;26:30, etc.) as the route from Jerusalem to Bethanymarker 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 ( ). At the foot of the Mount of Olives lies the Garden of Gethsemanemarker.

Jewish cemetery

Mount of Olives viewed from the Old City showing the Jewish cemetery.
From biblical times until today, Jews have been buried on the Mount of Olives. 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 Israelmarker, and his son Zvi Yehuda Kook. 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 Herzlmarker national cemetery.

Roman era

Roman soldiers from the 10th Legion camped on the Mount during the Siege of Jerusalem in the year 70 AD, which led to the destruction of the city.

Jordanian rule

Jewish burials were halted in 1948, and massive vandalism took place from 1948-1967. During the nineteen years of Jordanian rule, 40,000 of the 50,000 graves were desecrated. King Hussein permitted the construction of the Intercontinental Hotelmarker 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 for burials.


Today

The Arab neighborhood of at-Turmarker is located on the mountain's summit. Landmarks on the Mount of Olives include Yad Avshalommarker, the Tomb of Zechariahmarker, the Church of all Nationsmarker, the Church of Maria Magdalenemarker, Dominus Flevit Churchmarker, Gethsemanemarker, Mary's Tombmarker, the Mount of Olives Hotel and the Seven Arches Hotelmarker.

Cultural references

Christ on the Mount of Olives is the title of an oratorio by Ludwig van Beethoven, and of a painting by Caravaggio.Mount of Olives is the title of two poems by Henry Vaughan.

Notable graves



Image gallery

Image:Zkharia Hezir tombs.JPG|Tomb of Zechariahmarker and of the Hezir familyImage:JerMM.JPG|Church of Maria MagdalenemarkerImage:Mount of Olives-Jewish-Cemetary.jpg|Ancient Jewish cemeteryImage:Mount of Olives-Overlook.jpg|Looking toward the Temple Mount

References

External links




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