The country of Israel is small but extremely incredibly diverse in its landscape and environment. You have the beaches of the Mediterranean and Red Sea, the deserts of Judea and Negev, and the mountains and valleys. The mountains of Israel are beautiful and have meaning throughout the Bible and history.
Well-known Mountains of Israel
The Judean Mountains
“I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.”- Psalm 121
When David spoke of these mountains he was in hiding from King Saul and was most likely referring to the mountains of Israel known as the Judean Mountains. The Judean Mountains reach nearly 4,000 feet in height. These hills encompass a north-south ridge that includes the cities of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Hebron.
It is also included Ein Karem where Mary visited her cousin Elizabeth and Elizabeth’s husband Zechariah, the parents of John the Baptist.
Eleven miles west of the Sea of Galilee stands Mount Tabor. The Bible often refers to the mountains of Israel as being illustrations of the peaks and valleys of life, and Mount Tabor was a peak of humanity as Christ is believed by some to have transfigured, showing his glory, from this location.
While there is some debate on if that belief is accurate, there stands the Basilica of the Transfiguration on the mountain, belonging to the Franciscans, and erected in 1924. However, there has been a history of churches in this location, with it first documented in 570 AD, though it could have been earlier.
Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives stands at its highest point at nearly 2700 ft high and is a watershed for Jerusalem.
The Mount of Olives is where Jesus spent his last night before he was betrayed by Judas in the Garden of Gethsemane.
The hills of Jerusalem have many stories rich in biblical history, but Mt Moriah has one of the oldest stories in the Bible about the area, the story of Abraham and his son Isaac, when God told Abraham to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. At the last moment, God stopped Abraham and provided the sacrifice instead.
Eventually, around 1200 years later, Solomon’s temple was built upon Mount Moriah.
Mount of Beatitudes
While most of the mountains of Israel we are discussing are proper mountains (over 1000 feet above surrounding areas) but this “mount” is actually a hill, only rising a little over 650 feet to its summit. It’s actually 82 feet below sea level! This makes it one of the lowest summits in the world.
Also known as Mount Eremos, this hill is where it is believed Jesus gave his famous sermon, the Sermon on the Mount. On the hillside you can identify a natural amphitheater with fantastic acoustics which would have allowed a crowed to hear a speaker well, with a beautiful view of the Sea of Galilee.
Today, you can follow in the footsteps of Jesus and thousands of years of followers and visit this site that has had a church on it commemorating the sermon since the 4th century, during the Byzantine era. The current church was built in the 1930s and the Franciscans have authority over the church.
Mt. Carmel is known for its long history, beautiful views and it being the location of the showdown between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
At 1791 ft high it offers sweeping views of the valleys and is the birthplace of the Carmelite Catholic order, founded during the crusades.
Of all the mountains of Israel, Mt. Hermon might be the most diverse. Mt Hermon is found in the north part of Israel. The mountain is in Syria and Lebanon as well. It’s size is over 9000 feet high, and the highest point within Israel is 7,336 ft above sea level.
The old testament speaks of Mt. Hermon as a geological marker of kingdoms. Some believe that the mountain could be where the transfiguration actually happened, as previously Jesus and the disciples were at Caesarea Phillipi, which is on the slopes of Mt. Hermon.
Today, Mt. Hermon is located in what is known as the Golan Heights. The Israeli portion of the mountain actually has a ski resort! During the summer months, Israelis escape the heat and head to the mountain to enjoy the more temperate temperatures and go hiking, and enjoy other fun outdoor activities such as an alpine roller coaster!
We hope you enjoy the mountains of Israel the next time you join us! Contact Immanuel Tours today to get your free, no-commitment and no-risk tour proposal for 2022, 2023 and beyond!