Mount of Olives

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The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: הר הזיתים‎, Har HaZeitim ;Arabic: جبل الزيتون, الطور‎, Jebel az-Zeitun) is a mountain ridge in eastern Jerusalem with three peaks running from north to south.[1] The highest, at-Tur, rises to 818 meters (2,683 ft).[2] It is named for the olive groves that covers its slopes. The Mount of Olives is associated with Jewish and Christian traditions. The mount has been used as a Jewish cemetery for over 3,000 years and holds approximately 150,000 graves.[3]

Contents

History

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.[4] There are an estimated 150,000 graves on the Mount, including tombs traditionally associated with Zechariah and Avshalom. On the upper slope, the traditional Tomb of the Prophets Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi‎ is situated. Notable rabbis buried on the mount include Chaim ibn Attar and others from the 15th-century to present.

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.[5][6][7][8] 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.[9][10][11] After the Six-Day War, restoration work began, and the cemetery was re-opened for burials.

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