Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery

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Coordinates: 31°46′25.82″N 35°14′35.05″E / 31.7738389°N 35.2430694°E / 31.7738389; 35.2430694

JERUSALEM Mount of Olives Cemetery.JPG
Aerial view of the mountain

The Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives is the most ancient and most important cemetery in Jerusalem. Burial on the Mount of Olives started some 3,000 years ago in the First Temple Period, and continues to this day.[1] The cemetery contains about 70,000 tombs from various periods, including the tombs of famous figures in Jewish history.


In the 19th century special significance was attached to Jewish cemeteries in Jerusalem, since they were the last meeting place not only of Jerusalemites but also of Jews from all over the world. Over the years, many Jews in their old age came to Jerusalem in order to live out the rest of their lives there and to be buried in its holy soil.[2]

During the First and Second Temple Periods the Jews of Jerusalem were buried in burial caves scattered on the slopes of the Mount, and from the 16th century the cemetery began to take its present shape.[1]

The old Jewish cemetery sprawled over the slopes of the Mount of Olives overlooking the Kidron Valley (Valley of Jehoshaphat), radiating out from the lower, ancient part, which preserved Jewish graves from the second Temple Period; here there had been a tradition of burial uninterrupted for thousands of years. The cemetery was quite close to the Old City, its chief merit being that it overlooked the Temple Mount. According to Jewish tradition, it was here that the Resurrection of the Dead would begin.[2]

Many famous names are buried in the cemetery such as the Ohr ha-Chaim, Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar and Rabbi Yehuda Alcalay who were among the heralds of Zionism; Hasidic rebbes of various dynasties and Rabbis of "Yishuv haYashan" (the old – pre-Zionist - Jewish settlement) together with Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak Kook, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi, and his circle; Henrietta Szold the founder of the Hadassah organization, the poetess Else Lasker-Schüler, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda the father of Modern Hebrew, Shmuel Yosef Agnon the Nobel Laureate for Literature, Boris Schatz the founder of the Bezalel school of Art; Israel's sixth Prime Minister Menachem Begin, the victims of the 1929 and 1936-39 Arab riots, the fallen from the 1948 War of Independence, together with Jews of many generations in their diversity.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Mount Of Olives Jewish Cemetery
  2. ^ a b Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua. (1986). Jerusalem in the 19th century: Emergence of The new city, pages 24-25

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