Israel’s Military Cemetery, Gethsemane and the Western Wall
Our second day in Jerusalem was a very moving, emotional one.
Our first stop for the day was at the Military Cemetery. Because of the extremely rocky nature of the terrain graves are elevated above ground level.
I was struck at the inscription on one grave indicating that the dead soldier was 15 years of age.
Graves of some of Israel’s leaders were also in this cemetery.
We observed the grave sites of Yitzak Rabin and Golda Meir.
Golda Meir was an Israeli teacher, kibbutznik, politician and the fourth Prime Minister of Israel. Meir was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. Wikipedia
In 1994, Rabin won the Nobel Peace Prize together with Shimon Peres and Yasir Arafat. He was assassinated by right-wing Israeli radical Yigal Amir, who was opposed to Rabin’s signing of the Oslo Accords. Wikipedia
All Israeli citizens are required to serve in the military.
Garden of Gethsemane and Gethsemane Church
Our next stop was, for many in our travel group, the most emotional and memorable part of the trip.
We spent most of the morning in the Garden of Gethsemane and the Gethsemane Church.
As we reflected on the night that Jesus spent in Gethsemane praying to his Father:
“My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet, not as I will, but as you will.”
The actual garden still has the same olive trees that were there when Jesus was in the garden! They are old and gnarled and not very productive. We were all amazed that they were still there!
Here are some pictures of the trees, and the Gethsemane Church interior which has many beautiful paintings.
Inside the church is what is believed to be the stone upon which Jesus leaned while praying. We were allowed to pray around the perimeter of the large rock.
Our final stop of the day was a visit to the Western Wall, sometimes called the Wailing Wall.
Crowds of pilgrims and visitors from all over the world visit this site considered a holy place of prayer by Jews for centuries.
The photo shows the two separate sections of the wall where visitors can access the wall. The larger section on the left is for men and the smaller one on the right is for women.
The golden dome of the Muslim Dome of the Rock Mosque is visible behind the wall on Temple Mount.
The close proximity of these two sacred site illustrates the continuing friction between these two faiths.
For our group this was an opportunity to see and actually pray at the Wall as so many millions have before us.
The history of the Wall is long and often violent.
You can learn a lot about it in a detailed article and see additional images at the Wikipedia link below.
So ends our second day in Jerusalem.
We are tired and inspired.
We are humbled and reflective.
We an feel thousands of years of biblical history coming to life before our eyes.
Its not “book learning”.. we are walking where David and Solomon and Jesus and thousands of biblical figures and peoples walked and lived and prophesied, and suffered and lived and died.
Earlier posts include: