Mount Herzl

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Mount Herzl
הַר הרצל Har Herzl
Mount Herzl IMG 1149.JPG
The main entrance to Mount Herzl
Elevation 834 m (2,736 ft)
Location
Location 1 Herzl Boulevard Jerusalem
Range Judean
Coordinates 31°46′26″N 35°10′50″E / 31.77389°N 35.18056°E / 31.77389; 35.18056Coordinates: 31°46′26″N 35°10′50″E / 31.77389°N 35.18056°E / 31.77389; 35.18056

Mount Herzl (Hebrew: הר הרצל‎), also Har HaZikaron (Hebrew: הר הזכרון‎ lit. "Mount of Remembrance"), is the site of Israel's national cemetery and other memorial and educational facilities, found on the west side of Jerusalem beside Jerusalem Forest. It is named for Theodor Herzl, the founder of modern political Zionism. Herzl's tomb lies at the top of the hill. Yad Vashem, which commemorates the Holocaust, lies to the west of Mt. Herzl. Israel's war dead are also buried there. Mount Herzl is 834 meters above sea level. Every plot section in Mount Herzl has a broad plaza for memorial services. Most state memorial ceremonies for those killed at war are conducted in the National Military and Police cemetery.

History[edit]

Mount Herzl has served as Israel's national cemetery since 1951, following a government decision to establish a cemetery for Israeli leaders and fallen soldiers. Mt. Herzl is the burial place of four of Israel's prime ministers: Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Shamir and Yitzhak Rabin (who is buried beside his wife Leah). Israeli presidents are also buried on Mt. Herzl, as are other prominent Jewish and Zionist leaders. Mt. Herzl is the venue for many commemorative events and national celebrations. Dr. Asher Hirem, the architect who designed military cemeteries in Israel and memorials of the Israeli army, was chosen to design the cemeteries. The landscape architect Haim Giladi designed the gardens in Mount Herzl.[1]

Theodor Herzl's grave[edit]

Herzl's grave on the north side of Mount Herzl plaza

In 1903, Theodor Herzl wrote in his will:

I wish to be buried in a metal coffin next to my father, and to remain there until the Jewish people will transfer my remains to Eretz Israel. The coffins of my father, my sister Pauline, and of my close relatives who will have died until then will also be transferred there.[2]

When Herzl died a year later, he was interred in Vienna. Forty-five years later, Herzl's remains were brought to Israel and re-interred in Jerusalem. The location of the burial site was selected by a special state commission in the top of a hill in West Jerusalem next to Military cemetery of Jerusalem. He was buried in 17 August 1949. A temporary stone marked his grave for several years until the site was developed into a national cemetery. Sixty-three entries were submitted in the competition for the design of his new tombstone. The winner was Joseph Klarwein's design, consisting of an unadorned black granite stone inscribed with the name Herzl. The area around his tomb has been expanded into a the plaza where the first Independence Day ceremony was held in 1950.

Despite Herzl's wishes, his daughter Pauline and son Hans were not originally buried beside him. Their remains were moved to Mt. Herzl in 2006.[3] A third daughter was murdered in the Holocaust and her place of burial is unknown. Norman Park, a small garden behind the Zionism is dedicated to the memory to Herzl's only grandson, who committed suicide in the United States and was reinterred on Mt. Herzl in December 2007.[4] Herzl's parents and sister are also buried at Mount Herzl.

National Civil Cemetery of the State of Israel[edit]

Israel's main cemetery for the leaders of the country and people that sacrificed their lives for the country is located on the southern slope of Mt. Herzl, established there in 1952 when Ben Gurion decided to bury the finance minister in Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma, close to Herzl's grave. The design of the cemetery area was continued over the following years when other famous people from the Zionist movement were brought to be buried there.

Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma[edit]

Yitzhak and Leah Rabin's graves on Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma

In 1934, Zionist leader Menahem Ussishkin organized the re-interment of Leon Pinsker in Nicanor Cave on Mount Scopus in an attempt to build a pantheon for the great leaders of the nation. Ussishkin was buried there himself in 1941. When Mount Scopus became an enclave, cut off from Jerusalem, this plan was no longer feasible. A site was thus set aside for state leaders on Mount Herzl. Presidents of Israel, Prime Ministers of Israel, and Knesset speakers are buried there. To the north of Herzl's grave is a plot reserved for the leaders of the World Zionist Organization, among them David Wolffsohn, Nahum Sokolow, Simcha Dinitz, and Arieh Dulchin. Zalman Shazar, Chaim Herzog, Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and his wife Leah Rabin are also buried there. Other notable graves are those of the first speaker of the Knesset, Yosef Sprinzak and his wife Hanna, the first Minister of Finance, Eliezer Kaplan, and Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek. The grave of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and his family is in a separate plot on the west side of Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma. Despite the national significance of the cemetery, some Israeli leaders, including David Ben-Gurion and Menachem Begin have asked to be buried elsewhere.

Deciding who should be buried on Mt. Herzl has sometimes been controversial.[5] For example, the decision to bury Ze'ev Jabotinsky, who died in 1940, on Mt. Herzl, was fiercely opposed by many Labour Party stalwarts, who claimed that Jabotinsky was an ultra-right nationalist undeserving of such an honor. Only in 1964 did Prime Minister Levi Eshkol decide in favor of burying him there, in the interest of promoting national reconciliation and setting aside political grievances. Soldiers awarded with the Medal of Valor may also be buried in Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma.

Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial[edit]

To Victims of Acts of Terror

The Victims of Acts of Terror Memorial is the main memorial for all victims of terrorism in Israel from 1851 until today. The Memorial was opened in 1997, and every year a ceremony is held on the plaza, in memory of the victims of terror. The memorial is located in the National Civil Cemetery next to Helkat Gedolei Ha'Uma.

National military cemetery[edit]

Ceremony at Mt. Herzl military cemetery, 2010

The main Israel Defense Forces cemetery is located on the northern slope of Mt. Herzl. It was established in 1948 when soldiers who fell in the Jerusalem area was buried here. In 1949, the government decided to turn the site into the main cemetery for IDF members who have fallen in the line of duty. The Israel Police cemetery, for police officers who have fallen in the line of duty, is also located there.

All soldiers, regardless of rank or unit, are buried side by side. The gravestones are plain and unadorned, only recording name, rank, and place and date of birth and death.[6]

Christian, Muslim, and Druze soldiers[edit]

The military cemetery also honors the memory of Israel's fallen Christian, Muslim, and Druze soldiers who have served in the Israeli security forces.[7]

Garden of the Missing in Action[edit]

The Garden of the Missing in Action is a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier Memorial and Memory Garden for soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and those who fought for the pre-state Land of Israel whose resting places are unknown from 1914 until today. The garden was established on 29 February 2004 in a ceremony attended by army chiefs, the Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, and members of the Jerusalem Municipality at the National Military and Police cemetery. The garden also contains memorials to those lost aboard the submarine INS Dakar and the 23 Who Went Down at Sea.

An annual memorial service for the Missing Soldiers of Israel takes place in the garden's main plaza on Seventh of Adar day.

The garden includes "empty graves" and stone monuments to the memory of missing soldiers. At the entrance to the garden, there is a small plaza where memorial ceremonies to the missing are held. On the north side of the plaza there is a memorial to the missing sailors of the INS Dakar submarine, which sank in the Mediterranean sea. On the north side of the plaza is a memorial wall bearing the names of all missing soldiers and fighters from 1914 until today on the top of the wall there is a waterfall.

Hall of Names[edit]

Israel plans to establish a new national memorial hall to be built at the entrance to the National Military and Police cemetery. The new memorial is intended to honour the memory of the 22,684 soldiers and security personnel who have fallen defending the land of Israel since 1860.[8] It will be built in the shape of a torch rising some 18 meters where a fire will burn all year long. The Ministry of Defense plan includes all 22,684 names, each with a candle to be lit twice a year—once on the anniversary of the soldier's death, and on Memorial Day, as well as Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.[9] The estimated cost of the project is NIS40 million.[10]

Nations Garden[edit]

Above the Herzl Museum and the main plaza is the Nations Garden, where trees have been planted by visiting presidents and heads of state. There are two small observation decks looking out over Jerusalem. The Menorah sculpture is opposite main plaza entrance.

Museums and Education[edit]

Herzl Museum[edit]

Entrance to Herzl museum

Herzl Museum, an interactive museum on the at the main entrance to Mt. Herzl, offers a glimpse into the life of Theodor Herzl, the man behind the dream of a Jewish homeland.[11]

Norman Memorial Garden[edit]

Situated between the Herzl Museum and the Stella and Alexander Margulies Education Center, the Norman Garden is named for Herzl's grandson Stephen Norman. Stephen Norman was the only member of Herzl's family to visit Palestine or to be a Zionist. It is a place for groups and students to gather to hear about Mount Herzl. On one wall of the garden, a quote from Norman, in 1945, is inscribed: “You will be amazed at the Jewish youth in Palestine...they have the look of freedom."[12]

Yad Vashem[edit]

Yad Vashem is in the western region of Mount Herzl on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem, 804 meters above sea level and adjacent to the Jerusalem Forest. Yad Vashem is complex containing the Holocaust History Museum; memorial sites, such as the Children's Memorial and the Hall of Remembrance; The Museum of Holocaust Art; sculptures, outdoor commemorative sites such as the Valley of the Communities, a synagogue, archives, a research institute, library, publishing house and an educational center, The International School for Holocaust Studies. Yad Vashem honors non-Jews who saved Jews during the Holocaust, at personal risk, as the "Righteous among the Nations".

The Memorial Path leading to the entrance of Yad Vashem museum was established in 2003 and includes plaques that mark important events from the beginning of Zionism until to the creation of the state of Israel.

The Zionism study center[edit]

A Zionism Studies Center was begun in 2010 next to the Herzl museum and will open in 2013.

Mitspe Karem[edit]

Mitspe Karem is an archaeological park located in the Jerusalem Forest on the west side of the Mount of Remembrance, near the Yad Vashem museum. There are finds from various periods, including the Early Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, Byzantine and possibly the Hellenistic.

Official Ceremonies[edit]

  • Memorial Day ceremony for Israel's Fallen Soldiers.
  • Memorial Day Ceremony for Victims of Terrorism, held at the memorial of terror in Israel.
  • Seventh of Adar ceremony for fallen soldiers whose resting place is unknown, held in Garden of the Missing Soldiers.
  • Independence Day ceremony, held at Mount Herzl Plaza.
  • Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at Yad Vashem.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mount Herzl museum homepage.
  2. ^ "Mount Herzl and the Military Cemetery". Jerusalem Municipality. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  3. ^ "Herzl's Children to be Interned on Mount Herzl". Eretz Magazine. 16 September 2006. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  4. ^ Pfeffer, Anshel (5 December 2007). "Theodor Herzl's only grandson reinterred in J'lem cemetery". Haaretz. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  5. ^ Lichtman, Gail (21 May 1999). "Who Deserves Burial on Israel's Mt. Herzl?". World Zionist Press Service. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  6. ^ Ben Zion, Ilan (24 April 2012). "22,993 — more than a number". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "הנופלים לפי ישוב / בית עלמין" [Fallen Soldiers According to Yishuv/Cemetery] (in Hebrew). Israel Ministry of Defense. 2010. Retrieved 24 April 2013.  There are several soldiers listed from Daliyat al-Karmel, Usifiyah, Tuba-Zangariyye, and other Arab and Druze towns and villages on this Israeli government memorial site. According to this site, these soldiers have a stone marker representing them at Mount Herzl.
  8. ^ Katz, Yaakov (19 April 2010). "Mount Herzl ‘Hall of Names’ to Memorialize Israel’s fallen". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  9. ^ Kyzer, Liel (19 April 2010). "National memorial planned for Mount Herzl". Haaretz. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Katz, Yaakov (22 April 2012). "126 security personnel died in service in past year". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 22 August 2012. 
  11. ^ Elliman, Wendy (23 May 2003). "New Herzl Museum tells story of man behind Zionist dream". Israel Press Service. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  12. ^ Lidman, Melanie (5 February 2012). "On Herzl's birthday, grandson honored for 1st time". The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 

External links[edit]