Mountains of the Israeli Holy Land

By Carmen Slabbert
Kelli Harris
Edited by Kelli Harris

Published November 17, 2021.

Red Canyon at Eilat Mountains in Israel

The land of Israel has a few famous mountains. The Holy Land has the lowest point on Earth as well as important mountains mentioned in the Bible, with Mount Hermon as the highest and Mount Meron as the most famous.

Interesting Facts About Israeli Mountains

  • Mountains are mentioned 500 times in the Bible
  • The religious symbolism behind mountains is that it is a way of getting closer to God
  • There are about 1001 named mountains in Israel
  • Jerusalem is on a mountain across from Mount of Olives
  • South of Jerusalem lays Mount Zion
  • There are six mountains mentioned in the Bible, four of those six are located in Israel

Famous Mountains in Israel

Mount Hermon

Mount Hermon (Sacred Mountain/Jabal el-Shaiykh) is a cluster of mountains making up the Southern end of the Anti-Lebanon mountain range. Mount Hermon holds the distinction of being the highest mountain in Israel.

Altitude: 2 814m

Location: North of the Golan Heights. On the border between Syria and Lebanon.

How Can You Reach the Summit?

The highest point that can be reached is 2020m. You can drive to the upper parking lot or hike to the 2020m destination.

Any Significance to the Bible?

We read about Mount Hermon a few times in the Bible. It marks the northern limits of the Promised Land conquered by Joshua (Deuteronomy 3:8; Joshua 11:17, 12:1, 13:5). Joshua 3:3; 1 Chronicle 5:23; Psalms 42:6, 89:11-12 also talks about Mount Hermon. Worshippers liked to go to the isolated heights and a lot of ruins of ancient sanctuaries are found on the peaks and the base (Judges 3:3; 1 Chronicle 5:23; Psalms 42:6, 89:11-12).

Interesting Facts About Mount Hermon

  • Mount Hermon has the only ski resort in Israel
  • A part of the mountain is a military zone
  • It is the most northern point of Israel
  • There are three settlements on Mount Hermon: Neve Artive – Jewish settlement, Majdel Shams – Druse town and Ein Kynia – Druse village
  • There are about ten peaks on Mount Hermon
  • Mount Hermon has about five lookout points
  • There is a beautiful waterfall where Mount Hermon meets the Golan Heights
  • There are some unique species of butterflies and reptiles

Mount of Olives

Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge next to Jerusalem’s Old City in the East of Israel. Mount Olives are the location of many biblical events.

Altitude: 826m

Location: East of Israel next to Jerusalem’s Old City.

How Can You Reach the Summit?

You can drive or walk to the summit of Mount Olives. As it is a very steep climb up with lots of stairs and narrow roads it is advised to drive to the summit with public transport and then to walk down.

Any Significance in the Bible?

It was first mentioned in 2 Samuel 15 as the ascent of the Mount of Olives. It is referred to in Zechariah 14 as part of the end of days prophecy. In the New Testament, Mount Olives are referred to many times. Matthew 21:1; Mark 11:1 talks about the last week of Jesus’s life where Jesus and his disciples went to Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Matthew 24-25; Mark 13; Luke 21, explains Jesus’s Olivet Discourse. The Garden of Gethsemane is on the Western slopes of Mount Olives (Matthew 26; Mark 14). According to Acts 1:9-12, Jesus also ascended to heaven on Mount Olives.

Interesting Facts About Mount of Olives

  • It was named Mount of Olives because of the olive groves that grew on the slopes.
  • There are many churches located on the Mount of Olives.
  • The Mount of Olives is home to the largest Jewish cemetery in the world.
  • Mount of Olives is one of three peaks on the mountain ridge.

Mount Carmel

Mount Carmel is a coastal mountain range in North Israel. The name however confuses because it does not refer to a peak but an entire mountain range.

Altitude: 546m

Location: Northern Israel

How Can You Reach the Summit?

You can hike or drive up to the summit of Mount Carmel. There is a beautiful picnic spot. But because the summit is flat, there is no view from the summit.

Any Significance in the Bible?

The prophet Elijah’s showdown with the 850 pagan prophets took place on Mount Carmel. It is believed that Elijah sometimes resided in a cave on the mountain. 1 Kings 17:1-24; 1 Kings 18:19, 36-37; 1 Kings 18:39; 2 Kings 4:25; Isaiah 35:2; Songs of Solomon 7:5.

Interesting Facts About Mount Carmel

  • Mount Carmel is home to Mount Carmel National Park and Nature Reserve
  • This national park has many hiking paths, picnic areas, memorials, streams, campgrounds, observation points and outdoor activities
  • This national park is also one of the largest in the country
  • The best view from Mount Carmel is seen from Muhraka Monastery
  • The city Haifa is on the northern slope and is the third-largest city in Israel

The mountain ranges in Israel has special meaning not only to Christianity but also to Jewish people. Even the city Bethlehem is located in the Judean Mountains. Mountains in Israel have been mentioned in the Bible numerous times and all of them have special meanings.