The Mount of Olives' 3,000 Year Old Cemetery,
Desecrated between 1948 and 1967, Is Still in Danger
|Funeral procession to Mt of Olives (circa 1900). See another|
view of the procession here
The ancient cemetery was favored by the devout as their burial site because of its proximity to the holy site in anticipation of the eschatological resurrection of the dead.
|Mt of Olives funeral with view of the Old City wall (circa 1900)|
The American Colony collection contains many pictures of the Kidron Valley between the Temple Mount and the Mount of Olives, particularly around the picturesque shrine called "Absalom's Pillar." And the photographers captured pictures of mournersfrom various vantage points.
Note the large number of intact ancient tombs.
|"Jewish tombs on the Kidron slopes"|
note the tip of Absalom's tomb in the
center (circa 1900) and this picture
from the 1940s
|"Valleys of Jehoshaphat and Hinnom. Jewish|
cemetery on slopes of Mt of Olives" (circa
1900) and another view
Until 1917, Palestine was ruled by the Ottoman Turks; from 1917 until 1948 it was under British control. The Turks often discriminated against the Jews (one governor ordered the burial of dogs in a Jewish cemetery in Jerusalem-- "with the other dogs") and expelled thousands of Jews from Jaffa. The "Tyrant" Hassan Bek used Jewish gravestones to build a mosque between Jaffa and the new Tel Aviv, shown in photos from 1917.
When Jordanian troops captured eastern Jerusalem in 1948, they followed Hassan Bek's example and used the Jewish gravestones for their construction needs.
|Desecration of the Jewish cemetery on Mt of Olives photographed|
in 1967 (Israel National Photo Collection, Ilan Bruner)
|Staircase in Jordanian army|
camp in east Jerusalem built
from gravestones (Israel
National Photos, Moshe
After the recapture of eastern Jerusalem in 1967, Jews were shocked at the widespread descration of the ancient cemetery. Some 38,000 stones and graves were smashed.
Since then great efforts were made to restore the graves and tombstones.
|Graves on the Mt of Olives recently vandalized|
Click on the photos to enlarge.
Click on the captions to see the originals.