Mount of Olives Jewish Cemetery
The Jewish Cemetery on the Mount of Olives, including the Silwan necropolis, is the most ancient and most important Jewish 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. The cemetery contains anywhere between 70,000 and 300,000 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. The desire to be buried on the Mount of Olives stemmed in part from the Segulaic advantages attributed to the burial, according to various sources.
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.
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 lay just across the Kidron Valley from the Temple Mount: according to the midrash, it is here that the Resurrection of the Dead would begin once Messiah will appear on the Mount of Olives and head toward the Temple Mount. As the sages say: "In the days to come, the righteous will appear and rise in Jerusalem, as it is said, "And they will sprout out of the city like the grass of the field" - and there is no city but Jerusalem".
Rule of JordanEdit
During the Jordanian rule, the Jewish cemetery suffered systematic damage to gravestones and tombs. As early as the end of 1949, Israeli viewers stationed on Mount Zion reported that Arab residents began uprooting tombstones. In 1954, the Israeli government filed a formal complaint with the UN General Assembly regarding the further destruction of graves and plowing in the area. In the late 1950s, the Jordanian army used tombstones to build military camps. Dozens of tombstones were completely transferred to the tomb camp, a military camp established in nearby al-Eizariya, where they used to floor tents and toilets.
The Hotel Inter-Continental Jerusalem ("Seven Arches") was built on top of the Mount of Olives, and the access road to it was paved on graves, while the tombstones were shredded to gravel for use as raw material. When the Jordanians extended the road to Jericho, they demolished six rows of graves and threw the bones with the ground towards the lower Sephardic section. Even after sorting out some of the bones, a large pile of earth remained. In addition, ancient tombstones that stood around the tomb of Zechariah were removed from the area of the tomb in order to expand the access road to the village of Silwan. In his book 'Against the Closed Wall', Meron Benvenisti writes that tombstones were also transferred to the courtyard of the Citadel of David, where they were smashed and fragments of which were used as markers for the parade ground.
The cemetery todayEdit
As early as 1968, the Arabs began stoning the mourners on their way to the cemetery, through the Arab village. In 1992, with the burial of Prime Minister Menachem Begin on the Mount of Olives, it was decided to establish a dedicated security company for the cemetery, and to increase the protection of visitors to the site. In 2005, acts of harassment against Jews intensified, and it was decided to set up a guard unit for personal or group escort to those who came to the cemetery. In 2009, cars were attacked and many visitors were injured on the way to the cemetery. The "Jerusalem for generations" association turned to public figures, followed by a debate in the Knesset. In 2011, the chairman of the Almagor organization (terror victims association) was attacked and injured on his way to the graves of his Holocaust survivor parents. As a result, an attempt was made to increase public awareness of this attack and to mobilize the authorities and voluntary organizations against it. As of 2010, the security and personal escort service is free of charge, financed by the Ministry of Housing. Till today burial plots and tombs remain in a state of neglect. The plots of the graves suffer from vandalism, including the desecration of gravestones and the destruction of graves. A series of government decisions to rehabilitate parts of the mountain, as well as funds allocated for maintenance and renovation, have not yet succeeded in changing the sad situation.
Many famous names are buried in the cemetery such as Rabbi Chaim ibn Attar, known as the Ohr ha-Chaim, 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 poet Else Lasker-Schüler, Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, the father of Modern Hebrew, Shmuel Yosef Agnon, the Nobel Laureate for Literature, and Boris Schatz, the founder of the Bezalel School of Art; Israel's sixth Prime Minister Menachem Begin; the victims of the 1929 Arab riots and 1936–39 Arab revolt, the fallen from the 1948 War of Independence, together with Jews of many generations in their diversity.
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Rabbis and religious scholarsEdit
- Obadiah ben Abraham, the Bartenura
- Ḥayyim ben Moshe ibn Attar, the Ohr ha-Ḥayyim
- Yosef Hayyim, Baghdad-born rabbi and posek known as the Ben-Ish Hai (disputed)
- Shalom Sharabi, the Rashash
- Yaakov Chaim Sofer, the Kaf Hachaim
- Elazar Abuchatzeira, rabbi and grandson of the Baba Sali
- Levi Yitzchok Bender, leader of the Breslov community in Uman and Jerusalem
- Avrohom Blumenkrantz, American Orthodox rabbi
- David Cohen (rabbi), the “Rav Ha-Nazir”
- Yehoshua Leib Diskin, rabbi in Brest (Belarus) and Jerusalem
- Shlomo Elyashiv, Lithuanian kabbalist
- Moshe Mordechai Epstein, rosh yeshivas Slabodka, Lithuania
- Nosson Tzvi Finkel, the Alter of Slabodka
- Zerah Flegeltaub, rabbi of Jerusalem and Suwalki, Poland, son of Rabbi Shlomo Flegeltaub of Warsaw
- Abraham Gershon of Kitov, brother-in-law of the Baal Shem Tov
- Yitzchok Dovid Groner, director of Yeshivah Centre, Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
- Shimon Hakham, Bukharian writer and translator of Jewish holy texts and stories in Judeo-Tajik
- Moshe Halberstam, rosh yeshivas Tschakava
- Judah he-Hasid, 17th-century immigration leader
- Yitzchok Hutner, rosh yeshivas Yeshiva Rabbi Chaim Berlin, Brooklyn, New York
- Aryeh Kaplan, American Orthodox rabbi and author
- Zvi Yehuda Kook, rosh yeshivas Mercaz HaRav Kook
- Elyah Lopian, prominent rabbi of the Musar movement
- Avigdor Miller, American Orthodox rabbi, author and lecturer
- Shlomo Moussaieff, Bukharian family patriarch
- Yaakov Mutzafi, head of the Sephardi Edah HaHaredith, Jerusalem
- Meir ben Judah Leib Poppers, Bohemian rabbi and kabbalist
- Eliyahu David Rabinowitz-Teomim, rosh yeshivas Mir
- Zundel Salant, rabbi and primary teacher of Rabbi Yisrael Salanter
- Yechezkel Sarna, rosh yeshivas Slabodka
- Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Ore
- Gedalia Schorr, rabbi and Rosh Yeshiva of Torah Vodaas, Brooklyn, New York
- Sholom Schwadron, the "Maggid of Jerusalem"
- Dov Schwartzman, rosh yeshiva Yeshivas Bais HaTalmud, Jerusalem
- Avraham Shapira, rosh yeshivas Mercaz HaRav Kook
- Gedaliah Silverstone, rabbi in Belfast and Washington, D.C.
- Ahron Soloveichik, rosh yeshivas Brisk, Chicago, Illinois
- Pesach Stein, rosh yeshivas Telz, Cleveland, Ohio
- Yitzchok Yaakov Weiss, head of the Edah HaChareidis, Jerusalem
- Simcha Bunim Alter, fifth Gerrer rebbe
- Yisrael Alter, fourth Gerrer rebbe
- Moshe Biderman, Lelover rebbe
- Mordechai Shlomo Friedman, Boyaner rebbe of New York City
- Levi Yitzchak Horowitz, second Bostoner rebbe
- Maiden of Ludmir, female Hasidic rebbe
- Yechiel Yehoshua Rabinowicz, Shedlitser rebbe
- Isamar Rosenbaum, Nadvorna rebbe
- Shaul Yedidya Elazar Taub, Modzitzer rebbe
- Solomon Eliezer Alfandari, Chief Rabbi of Damascus and Safed
- Meir Auerbach, first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem
- Chaim Berlin, Chief Rabbi of Moscow
- She'ar Yashuv Cohen, Chief Rabbi of Haifa
- Haim Douek, Chief Rabbi of Egypt
- Jacob Saul Elyashar, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of Ottoman Palestine
- Shlomo Goren, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
- Immanuel Jakobovits, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, London
- Abraham Isaac Kook, Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine
- Jacob Meir, Sephardic Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine
- Meyer Rosenbaum, Chief Rabbi of Cuba
- Shmuel Salant, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Jerusalem
- Yosef Chaim Sonnenfeld, Chief Rabbi of the Edah HaChareidis, Jerusalem
- Isser Yehuda Unterman, Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel
- Harry Fischel, American Jewish businessman and philanthropist
- Robert Maxwell, British media magnate and supporter of Israel
- George Weidenfeld, British Jewish businessman and philanthropist
- Shmuel Yosef Agnon, Israeli writer
- Nissim Behar, pioneer of modern Hebrew education
- Shmuel Ben David, (1884–1927), illustrator, painter, typographer, and designer
- Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, father of modern Hebrew
- Israel Dov Frumkin, Israeli journalist
- Uri Zvi Grinberg, Israeli poet and journalist
- Yossele Rosenblatt, hazzan and composer
- Else Lasker-Schüler, German-Jewish poet
- Boris Schatz, founder of the Bezalel School in Jerusalem
- Ephraim Urbach, Israeli scholar
- Judah Alkalai, precursor of political Zionism
- Moshe Barazani, Lehi fighter
- Menachem Begin, Israeli prime minister
- Eliyahu Ben-Elissar, Israeli politician and diplomat
- Israel Eldad, Revisionist Zionist philosopher and fighter
- Meir Feinstein, Irgun fighter
- Jacob Israël de Haan, Dutch Jewish journalist assassinated by the Haganah
- Zevulun Hammer, Israeli politician, minister and deputy prime minister
- Moshe Hirsch, leader of Neturei Karta
- Ida Silverman, Jewish philanthropist, speaker, and Zionist fund-raiser
- Henrietta Szold, founder of Hadassah, the Women's Zionist Organization of America
- Dawid Wdowiński Founder of the ZZW
- Eliyahu Asheri, Israeli terror victim
- Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, terror victims
- Rachel, Netanel, Rephael and Ephraim Weiss, victims of the Jericho bus firebombing
- Abraham Zelmanowitz, American victim of the September 11 attacks
- Boedil Thurgotsdatter, medieval Danish queen
- Princess Alice of Battenberg, mother of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, recognised as "Righteous Among the Nations" by Yad Vashem
- Mount Of Olives Jewish Cemetery Archived 2010-02-12 at the Wayback Machine
- Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua. (1986). Jerusalem in the 19th century: Emergence of The new city, pages 24-25
- Pesikta D'Rav Kahane, Targum of Song of Songs
- Bavli, Tractate Ketubot 111,b / Tehillim 72:16.
- Motke Sofer, "A Tour of the Mount of Olives," in Eli Schiller (ed., With Sefi Ben Yosef, Nathan Shor, Mordechai Sofer). "The Mount of Olives", Ariel Press, Jerusalem, 1978, p. 46.
- Menucha Toker, the Jordanians destroyed, Rabbi Levi Meshakam, from the weekly "Mishpacha" on the Shturem website
- Meron Benvenisti, opposite the closed wall - divided and united Jerusalem. Weinfeld and Nicholson 1973.
- "Significant increase in violence on the way to the Mount of Olives", Minister of Internal Security Avi Dichter's reply to Eli Yishai's. Arab rioters destroy gravestones (including pictures). Two cars were attacked and turned over by rioters on the way to the Mount of Olives (Yesha News Website). Gur Hasidim were attacked on the Mount of Olives (2011). A discussion in the Knesset on the Mount of Olives following the request of Chaim Miller.
- Hodaya Shark-Hazony, the hand that directs the stone-throwers, on the News1 website, October 22, 2010
- Yitzhak Tessler, to die in peace: security service on the Mount of Olives, NRG360 site, October 17, 2010
- Again desecration of graves in the Mount of Olives, Arutz Sheva, February 25, 2010
- Dozens of gravestones were vandalized on the eve of Jerusalem Day - an article from the Nana site
- "Slain Beersheba rabbi laid to rest". Ynetnews. 20 June 1995. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- Aaron Sorsky (1977). Marbitzai Torah Umusar. 4. New York: Sentry Press. pp. 147–170. OCLC 233313098.
- Grave Information for Yaakov Mutzafi, Hebrew
- Rossoff, Dovid (2005). קדושים אשר בארץ: קברי צדיקים בירושלים ובני ברק [The Holy Ones in the Earth: Graves of Tzaddikim in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak] (in Hebrew). Jerusalem: Machon Otzar HaTorah.
- Bostoner Rebbe Levi Yitzhak Horowitz dies at 88. Jerusalem Post, December 6, 2009.
- Meir Halachmi, Toldot Hachasidut b'Erets Yisrael, vol.2, pp. 73-83, Beit Biala
- Collins, Liat (8 September 2016) "My Word: Rabbi, Fighter and Peacemaker", The Jerusalem Post. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
- Gradstein, Linda (November 1, 1988) "Israel Buries Victims Of Firebombing", Sun Sentinel