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Texans for Israel - Take a Tour of Israel

Mount of Olives

 

The Mount of Olives is the place, in Christian belief, where Jesus gave his “sermon on the mount”. The Mount of Olives is referenced in the bible several times, including in Matthew 24:3, as a place where the disciples came to Jesus for knowledge. The Mount of Olives is also mentioned in several other important biblical stories, including King David, King Solomon, and many more. The Mount of Olives is a historical burial ground, where an estimated 150,000 graves are located. This area is a sacred land, important in both Christian and Jewish religions.

 

Garden of Gethsemane

 

The Garden of Gethsemane is the place, according to the bible, where Jesus and his disciples prayed and slept the night before Jesus was crucified. This is a garden located in the foothills of the Mount of Olives, in Jerusalem. The Garden of Gethsemane is also the burial place of the Mary, the mother of Jesus. In Matthew 26, the bible discusses the story of Jesus praying to his father and making peace the night before his crucifixion. The Garden of Gethsemane has an important place in Christian and Jewish religions, and many go to this area to pray.

 

Jericho

 

Jericho is thought to be the oldest occupied city in the world. Jericho is the place, in Luke 19:1-9, where Jesus inspired Zacchaeus, a tax collector, to repent for his sins. This is also the sight of the stories in the book of Joshua, where the battle of Jericho took place. In this battle God led Joshua to reclaim the land of Jericho, from the Canaanites. The land then was ruled under God’s order, however over time has been a continued place of conflict.

 

Bethlehem

 

The new testament in the Bible states Bethlehem as the birthplace of Jesus. This is also the city where David is crowned as the king of Israel. Bethlehem is also the home of the Tomb of Rachel. Present day Bethlehem has a Muslim majority. In Matthew 2:1, the Bible tells the story of the three wise men traveling to Bethlehem to see Jesus after his birth.

 

Cave of the Patriarchs

 

It is believed that Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are buried within this tomb.  They are considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish people. The only Matriarch missing is Rachel, who is buried in the land of Bethlehem, where it is believed she died in childbirth. The Cave of the Patriarchs is the second most sacred site in the world in Judaism.

 

Tomb of Joseph

 

Joseph, the son of Jacob, was sold into Egyptian slavery by his brothers. His brothers believed their father loved Joseph more than the others. This land is referenced as the resting place of Joseph, and his two sons. It is thought that Joseph told his brothers to bury him here because it is the place where they sold him into slavery. This area has been fought over between Christians and Samaritans. Part of the building has had to be rebuild, due to the conflicts as well as time. This area is used as a place of prayer for several faiths. The area is located very close to Jacob’s Well.

 

Tomb of Rachel

 

The Tomb of Rachel is located in the land of Bethlehem. Rachel was the wife of Jacob, and could not give him a child. In Genesis 29:13 it states Rachel was barren, while her sister Leah was not. Rachel’s Tomb is the third holiest site in Judaism, and has become one of the cornerstones of Jewish-Israeli identity. In Jewish traditions Rachel is considered the “eternal mother”, who cares especially for pregnant women and children. It is thought Rachel died during childbirth.

 

Jacob’s Well

 

In John 4:4, this is the site where Jesus ministered to the Samaritan women while resting. He told her of the spiritual water, which will never lead to thirst again. She returned to her land, and spread information of her meeting with Jesus throughout the land. It is also thought the well was used for Christian baptisms. There is now a church built around the well, with the well being located at the entrance.

 

Elon Moreh

 

In the bible Elon Moreh is the place where God gave the land of Israel to Abraham, in Genesis 12:6. The area is located in the Samarian hills, and has been greatly disputed over time. The land is now a small village, settled in February 1980. Elon Moreh is thought to be illegal by international law, but this is disputed by Israeli government.

 

Shiloh

 

Shiloh was the first capital of Israel, before the first temple was built in Jerusalem. The land of Shiloh became one of the leading religious shrines in ancient Israel. This was originally the home of the Ark of the Covenant, and quickly became a common place for prayer. This was an Israeli main place of worship before the city of Jerusalem was elevated. Shiloh is also said to be the home of the biblical “Tabernacle”.

 

Bethel

 

The name Bethel means “House of God”. This land is where Joshua fell asleep and dreamed of building a ladder to connect Heaven and Earth. This is where God promised Joshua the land of the Canaans. Jacob awoke and named the land Bethel, which was formerly a Canaan name “Luz”. This land is also mentioned many times throughout Genesis in the bible, as well as throughout the rest of the bible.

 

Bethany

 

Bethany was the home of Martha, Mary, and Lazarus in the bible. This is also the site where Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead. It is believed that in the past the city of Bethany was thought of as a place to take care of the sick and poor. This is supported by the biblical stories of Lazarus’ sickness, as well as the sickness of Simon the Leper. It is thought this could also be the parting place of Jesus and the disciples before the Ascension into Heaven.

 

The Temple Mount

 

The Temple Mount is the most sacred site in the world for Judaism. This is located in Jerusalem, and is the home of important sites including the Dome of the Rock, the Dome of the Chain, and the Farthest Mosque. Judaism regards the Temple Mount as the place chosen by God for the divine presence to rest. This is the ultimate location Jewish people turn to face while praying.  It is one of the most contested religious sites in the world, being the center of conflict between  the Islamic and Jewish people. In Judaism it is believed the Temple Mount is the home of the Foundation Stone, where the world began and expanded from.