Giv'at Hamivtar Jerusalem DSCN0046a

Givat Hamivtar, seen from north

Givat HaMivtar (Hebrew: גבעת המִבְתָּר) is a Jewish neighborhood in northern East Jerusalem, Israel, established in 1970 between Ramat Eshkol and French Hill. It was established on a hill where an important battle took place in the Six Day War. Archaeological excavations have revealed important ancient Jewish tombs in the region. Givat Hamivtar was one of the first "Build Your Own Home" neighborhoods in Jerusalem.[1]


The hill on which Givat Hamivtar was established was the site of a Jordanian fort, one of a series of military installations blocking Jewish access to Mount Scopus and cutting off Hadassah Hospital, the Hebrew University, and the National Library of Israel from West Jerusalem.[2] The Jordanians called itTal al-Mudura, lit. "round hill."[3] Jordanian snipers used this strategic location to fire on Israeli troops during the Battle of Ammunition Hill. Givat HaMivtar was conquered by an Israeli tank force after two attempts. The first mission failed after an Israeli soldier was killed by friendly fire.[4][5]

The Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamivtar was planned as part of a sequence of Jewish neighborhoods called the bariah or "hinge" neighborhoods[1][6] connecting west Jerusalem to Mount Scopus. The name of the neighborhood means "bissected hill," either referring to the crisscross of Jordan bunkers that existed before the neighborhood was built,[6] or the earthworks cutting through Mount Scopus to create a road from Jerusalem’s Old City to Nablus.[7][8]

On July 1967, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol ordered government clerks to bypass the ordinary procedures to allow for Givat HaMivtar and the other hinge neighborhoods to be built as quickly as possible. When purchasing land encountered difficulties, some tracts were expropriated.[1] To speed up the building process, land was subsidized by the government.[1] Most of the homes in Givat HaMivtar were privately built. The majority of the homes were two-family homes, originally one-story high, to which a second floor was added over time.


Between 1968-2009, ten archeological digs were carried out on Givat HaMivtar.[9] Sepulchers discovered in the course of the digs were determined to be Jewish tombs of the Second Temple period. One yielded the only physical evidence for the Roman custom of crucifixion found to date.[10][11][12][13][14] These were the remains of a person called Jehohanan Ben Khagqol, and they included a heel bone with a nail driven through it from the side. The tip of the nail was bent, perhaps because of striking a knot in the upright beam, which prevented it being extracted from the foot.

Another tomb, highly ornate, held the remains of the family of Simon Bana Hekhalah, probably a builder of the Temple, as his name indicates.[15][16]

A third archaeologically interesting tomb on Givat HaMivtar is that of Abbah Bar Kahana (Aramaic: Abbah the priest). In the tomb prepared for his family, Abbah Bar Kahana secretly placed the body of Matatya Ben Yehuda, who had been exiled to Babylon and brought back to Jerusalem for burial.[17][18][19] Some historians believe Matatya Ben Yehuda was Antigonus II Mattathias, the exiled heir of Judea kingdom.[16][20]


Synagogue Giv'at HaMivtar Jerusalem July 10 2009 039

Givat Hamivtar's Synagogue

Givat HaMivtar has only preschools and kindergartens. The elementary schools of Ramat Eshkol were built on the border between the two neighborhoods in order to serve them both. High schools are located on French Hill and Ma'alot Dafna.[1]

The first synagogue in Givat HaMivtar was unique in that prayer services followed a non-specific nusach so that Jews of all ethnic groups could pray there.[21] In the first decade of this millennium, many of the neighborhood’s secular and Modern Orthodox residents have moved out, and ultra-Orthodox Jews have become a majority.[22]

Since the mid 1980s, there is a Makuya center in the neighborhood.[23]

Notable residents


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Kroyanker, David (1988) (in Hebrew). ירושלים - המאבק על מבנה העיר וחזותה [Jerusalem - The struggle over the city structure and its appearance]. Zmora Bitan. 
  2. Ammunition Hill
  3. "אם אשכחך", Ministry of Education]
  4. משה מאיר, ישראל בת 58, אתר עיתון "הארץ"
  5. קרב גבעת התחמושת כמשל, אורי מילשטיין, 2002
  6. 6.0 6.1 סיור לאורך "הקו העירוני", אילן שפירא
  7. רמות אשכול וגבעת המבתר, מינהל קהילתי ושכונתי
  8. The earthworks cutting picture, early 1970s
  9. כתב העת "חדשות ארכאולוגיות" באתר רשות העתיקות
  10. Some Notes on Crucifixion
  11. David W. Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian perceptions of crucifixion (Mohr Siebeck, 2008), p. 86-89
  12. Joe Zias, Crucifixion in Antiquity - The Anthropological Evidence
  13. מעשה הצליבה, בטאון "גלילאו"
  14. [1]עמוס קלונר ובועז זיסו, עיר הקברים של ירושלים בימי הבית השני, הוצאת יד יצחק בן צבי
  15. הקבורה המשפחתית והחוץ-משפחתית בירושלים ובסביבתה בתקופת בית הורדוס
  16. 16.0 16.1 דוד בנבנישתי סיורים בירושלים קירית ספר 1980‏
  17. כתובות מתקופת בית שני, המשנה והתלמוד website of the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel
  18. S. Rosenthal, "The Giv'at Ha-Mivtar Inscription". IEJ 23 (1973), 72-81
  19. שמואל ספראי, העלאת מתים לקבורה בארץ - ישראל באתר הספרייה הווירטואלית של המרכז לטכנולוגיה חינוכית - מט"ח
  20. אילת נגב בראיון עם אמילי עמרוסי, פורסם לראשונה בידיעות אחרונות
  21. אדיר זיק הובא למנוחות, בן חיים, מעריב
  22. The last secular stronghold, Haaretz
    בגובה העיניים עם שלמה רוזנר, רונית מזרחי ומירב שלום, זמן ירושלים ומעריב
  23. מרכז המקויה בירושלים, בלוגיית תפוז

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