Givat HaMivtar

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Givat Hamivtar, seen from north

Givat HaMivtar (Hebrew: גִּבְעַת הַמִּבְתָּר) is a neighborhood in Jerusalem[1] established in 1970 between Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. It is located on a hill where an important battle took place in the Six Day War. Archaeological excavations have revealed important ancient Jewish tombs in the region. Givat Hamivtar was one of the first "Build Your Own Home" neighborhoods in Jerusalem.[2] The international community considers Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[3]


The hill on which Givat Hamivtar was established was the site of a Jordanian fort, one of a series of military installations blocking Jewish access to Mount Scopus and cutting off Hadassah Hospital, the Hebrew University, and the National Library of Israel from West Jerusalem.[when?][4] The Jordanians called it Tal al-Mudura, lit. "round hill."[5] Jordanian snipers used this strategic location to fire on Israeli troops during the Battle of Ammunition Hill. Givat HaMivtar was conquered by an Israeli tank force after two attempts. The first mission failed after an Israeli soldier was killed by friendly fire.[6][7]

The Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamivtar was planned as part of a sequence of Jewish neighborhoods called the bariah or "hinge" neighborhoods[2][8] connecting west Jerusalem to Mount Scopus. The name of the neighborhood means "bissected hill," either referring to the crisscross of Jordan bunkers that existed before the neighborhood was built,[8] or the earthworks cutting through Mount Scopus to create a road from Jerusalem's Old City to Nablus.[9][10]

In July 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol ordered government clerks to bypass the ordinary procedures to allow for Givat HaMivtar and the other hinge neighborhoods to be built as quickly as possible. When purchasing land encountered difficulties, some tracts were expropriated.[2] To speed up the building process, land was subsidized by the government.[2] Most of the homes in Givat HaMivtar were privately built. The majority of the homes were two-family homes, originally one-story high, to which a second and often a third floor was added over time.


Numerous archeological digs have been carried out in Givat HaMivtar.[11] Sepulchers discovered in the course of the digs were determined to be Jewish tombs of the Second Temple period.

Tomb of crucified man[edit]

One tomb yielded the only physical evidence for the Roman custom of crucifixion found to date.[12][13][14][15][16] These were the remains of a person called Jehohanan Ben Khagqol, and they included a heel bone with a nail driven through it from the side. The tip of the nail was bent, perhaps because of striking a knot in the upright beam, which prevented it being extracted from the foot.

Tomb of "Simon, builder of the temple"[edit]

Another tomb, highly ornate, held the remains of the family of "Simon, builder of the temple" (Simon Bana Hekhalah), probably a builder of the Herodian Temple, as his name indicates.[17][18][19][20]

Tomb of Abba[edit]

A third archaeologically interesting tomb on Givat HaMivtar is that of "Abba, son [descendant?] of the priest Eleazar, son [descendant] of Aaron the high (priest)." The inscription is in Aramaic, but written in the by then anachronistic ancient Hebrew script. In the tomb prepared for his family, Abba, who had been exiled to Babylon, secretly brought back to Jerusalem and buried the remains of "Mattathiah son of Juda(h)".[21][22][23] Some believe that Mattathiah son of Judah was Antigonus II Mattathias, the exiled heir of the Kingdom of Judea.[18][24] However, according to anthropologist Joe Zias, former Curator of Archaeology and Anthropology for the Israel Antiquities Authority, this theory is just little more than an urban myth, since the only beheaded skeleton found in 1971 and at the later reexamination of the previously untouched tomb, belonged to an elderly woman. In his view, no other set of remains found there could be associated with King Antigonus II.[25][26]


Sephardi synagogue
Sephardi synagogue
Ashkenazi synagogue
Ashkenazi synagogue

Givat HaMivtar has only preschools and kindergartens. The elementary schools of Ramat Eshkol were built on the border between the two neighborhoods in order to serve them both. High schools are located on French Hill and Ma'allot Dafna.[2]

The first synagogue in Givat HaMivtar was unique in that prayer services followed a non-specific nusach so that Jews of all ethnic groups could pray there.[27] In the first decade of this millennium, many of the neighborhood's secular and Modern Orthodox residents have moved out, and ultra-Orthodox Jews have become a majority.[28]

Since the mid-1980s, there is a Makuya center in the neighborhood.[29]

Notable residents[edit]

Jerusalem Light Rail
Red Line
Leah Goldberg
Neve Yaakov South
Mazal Shor
'Heil Ha-Avir (Air Force Street)
Sayeret Duchifat
Pisgat Ze'ev Center
Yekuti'el Adam
Beit Hanina
To depot
Giv'at HaMivtar
Ammunition Hill
Shimon HaTzadik
Shivtei Israel
Damascus Gate
Safra Square (City Hall)
Jaffa – Center
Mahane Yehuda Market
Central Station
Kiryat Moshe
Denia Square
Yefeh Nof
Mount Herzl
Shmaryahu Levin
Haaim Habib
Haddassa Medical School
Hadassah Medical Center


  1. ^ "Settlements in East Jerusalem". Foundation for Middle East Peace. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Kroyanker, David (1988). ירושלים - המאבק על מבנה העיר וחזותה [Jerusalem - The struggle over the city structure and its appearance] (in Hebrew). Zmora Bitan. 
  3. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  4. ^ "Ammunition Hill" (in Hebrew). Archived from the original on 17 June 2011. 
  5. ^ שער ראשון "אם אשכחך" [The first gate, "If I forget thee"] (Microsoft Word doc) (in Hebrew). Israel Ministry of Education. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Moshe Meir (30 April 2006). אבי אבי [Avi Avi]. Haaretz (in Hebrew). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Uri Milstein (6 June 2002). קרב גבעת התחמושת כמשל [The battle of Ammunition Hill as a parable] (in Hebrew). Faz. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  8. ^ a b סיור לאורך "הקו העירוני", אילן שפירא[dead link]
  9. ^ גבעת המבתר ורמות אשכול [Givat Hamivtar and Ramot Eshkol] (in Hebrew). Congregational administration of the neighborhoods French Hill, Givat HaMivtar, Tzameret Habira and Ramot Eshkol. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  10. ^ המיבתר במרומי הר הצופים [HaMivtar atop Mount Scopus] (in Hebrew).  The earthworks cutting picture, early 1970s.
  11. ^ כתב העת "חדשות ארכאולוגיות"] באתר רשות העתיקות [Archaeological News] (in Hebrew). [dead link]
  12. ^ Some Notes on Crucifixion
  13. ^ David W. Chapman (2008). Ancient Jewish and Christian perceptions of crucifixion. Coronet Books. pp. 86–89. ISBN 9783161495793. 
  14. ^ Joe Zias, Crucifixion in Antiquity - The Anthropological Evidence
  15. ^ Merit Selvin. מעשה הצליבה [Crucifixion] (in Hebrew). Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  16. ^ [1] עמוס קלונר ובועז זיסו, עיר הקברים של ירושלים בימי הבית השני, הוצאת יד יצחק בן צבי[dead link]
  17. ^ הקבורה המשפחתית והחוץ-משפחתית בירושלים ובסביבתה בתקופת בית הורדוס
  18. ^ a b דוד בנבנישתי סיורים בירושלים קירית ספר 1980[dead link]
  19. ^ Image of the ossuary from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, with extensive caption
  20. ^ Image of the ossuary from the Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  21. ^ כתובות מתקופת בית שני, המשנה והתלמוד website of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
  22. ^ S. Rosenthal, "The Giv'at Ha-Mivtar Inscription". IEJ 23 (1973), 72-81
  23. ^ Samuel Safrai. ארץ - ישראל והתפוצה היהודית : ה. העלאת מתים לקבורה בארץ - ישראל [The land of Israel and the Jewish diaspora: Raising of the dead for ritual burial in the land of Israel] (in Hebrew). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  24. ^ אילת נגב בראיון עם אמילי עמרוסי [Eilat Negev interview with Emily Amrussi] (in Hebrew). May 2009. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  25. ^ Joe Zias (April 2014). "A Jerusalem tomb, 'blind leading the blind' or just another Day in Paradise?". The Bible and Interpretation. Mark Elliott and Patricia Landy. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  26. ^ "Tomb Inscription at Givat Hamivtar". COJS Jewish History Database. Center for Online Judaic Studies (COJS). 12 January 2009. Retrieved 13 December 2015. 
  27. ^ Avishai Ben Haim (8 February 2005). אדיר זיק הובא למנוחות [Adir Zik was laid to rest]. Maariv (in Hebrew). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
  28. ^ Tamar Rotem (20 February 2008). "Beit Hakerem - The last secular holdout in Jerusalem". Haaretz. Retrieved 29 August 2014. 
    Ronit Mizrahi; Mirav Shalom (28 April 2009). בגובה העיניים עם שלמה רוזנר, [At eye level with Shlomo Rosner] (in Hebrew). NRG. Retrieved 28 August 2014. 
  29. ^ מרכז המקויה בירושלים [The Makuya Center in Jerusalem] (in Hebrew). Retrieved 29 August 2014. 

Coordinates: 31°48′11.01″N 35°13′52.63″E / 31.8030583°N 35.2312861°E / 31.8030583; 35.2312861