2015-11-13 / Travel

Holy Land

Part 1: Rachel, Lazarus, Al-Aqsa
By Warner M. Montgomery, Ph.D. WarnerM@TheColumbiaStar.com


The Tomb of Lazarus, site of a miracle recorded in the Gospel of John in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus, is on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives. The Tomb of Lazarus, site of a miracle recorded in the Gospel of John in which Jesus resurrects Lazarus, is on the southeast slope of the Mount of Olives. I have always been attracted to the Holy Land, modern Israel, and Jordan. Three times I have found myself wandering through the historic sites searching for the meaning of life. In 1970, after doing research in Thailand for my dissertation, I stopped off in Jerusalem for three days. In 1983, after completing two years as principal of an American school in Cameroon, I spent two weeks in Israel with my two sons, Chai and Jyoti. And, in 2006, Linda and I took a trip through the wonders of Jordan. So, my dear readers, I share the following adventures with you.

Next Week: Tunnel, Dome, Acrel


Rachel’s Tomb is in a small building revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims east of Jerusalem on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The burial place of the matriarch Rachel dates to the 4th century AD and is mentioned in the Jewish Tanach, the Christian Old Testament, and in Muslim literature. The dome containing the tomb dates from when Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the site in 1841 after obtaining the key for the Jewish community. According to the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the tomb was to be part of the zone of Jerusalem but was occupied by Jordan.

Rachel’s Tomb is in a small building revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims east of Jerusalem on the outskirts of Bethlehem. The burial place of the matriarch Rachel dates to the 4th century AD and is mentioned in the Jewish Tanach, the Christian Old Testament, and in Muslim literature. The dome containing the tomb dates from when Sir Moses Montefiore renovated the site in 1841 after obtaining the key for the Jewish community. According to the 1947 United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine, the tomb was to be part of the zone of Jerusalem but was occupied by Jordan.



Al-Aqsa Mosque, third holiest site in Islam, is in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslims believe Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. The mosque was originally a small prayer house completed in 705 AD. An earthquake in 746 destroyed the mosque, and it was rebuilt in 780. Another earthquake destroyed it in 1033, but two years later it was rebuilt and has stood to the present day. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD, they used it as a palace, but it was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187. The Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic alliance. Al-Aqsa Mosque, third holiest site in Islam, is in the Old City of Jerusalem. Muslims believe Muhammad was transported from the Sacred Mosque in Mecca to Al-Aqsa during the Night Journey. The mosque was originally a small prayer house completed in 705 AD. An earthquake in 746 destroyed the mosque, and it was rebuilt in 780. Another earthquake destroyed it in 1033, but two years later it was rebuilt and has stood to the present day. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in 1099 AD, they used it as a palace, but it was restored after its recapture by Saladin in 1187. The Old City is under Israeli control, but the mosque remains under the administration of the Jordanian/Palestinian-led Islamic alliance.

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