Mount Scopus
In Hebrew Har Hatzofim

Mount Scopus in Hebrew Har Hatzofim, literally means the Mount of the lookout.

It is one of the few places in Jerusalem from where you may see the Dead Sea at the same as the Dome of the Rock in the Old City.

For years we have taken pilgrims of all faiths to Mt Scopus straight from the airport to get an emotional view of Jerusalem and over cups of wine recite the blessing of Yehecheyanu, thanking the Lord for allowing us to reach this unforgettable moment.

Night View from the Old City towards Mt Scopus

Brief History

This humble mount is 826 meters about Sea level, located in northeast Jerusalem. It has been a strategic point for centuries. The Romans first used it in the Year 70 CE to siege the city. It has been used by the Crusaders, the Ottomans and the British since then.

After the Arab Israeli War of 1948 when Old Jerusalem remained in Jordanian hands, the enclave of Mt Scopus became a UN Protectorate of Jewish land inside Jordanian Territory. Then on the Six Day War of 1967 and the liberation of the Jerusalem by the Israeli forces, Mount Scopus was again in Israeli hands and today is within the Municipal borders of the City of Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel.

Nearby is the lively neighborhood of French Hill with food stands and shopping center, grocery stores, restaurants and cafes. There is an Arab Village nearby called Isawiyya, which not always welcomes visitors. In other words I do not recommend a visit.

If you are an early riser, I recommend a visit to Mount Scopus at the time of sunrise. On a clear day you may see the Sun Rising above the Jordanian mountains and the Dead Sea which is almost an hour away by car.

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The Hebrew University Campus in Mount Scopus Jerusalem

Attractions near Mount Scopus

  • The Hebrew University

It was the first ever Hebrew Language Institution of higher learning was established on Mt Scopus in the year 1925 after 8 years of planning and building. Today the impressive tower atop the university dominates the skyline of Jerusalem.

By 1947 it was a well established research and teaching institution with departments of Science, Humanities, Medicine, Education and a department of Agriculture in Rehovot. It boasts a faculty of 200 and a student population of 1,000.

  • Hadassah Hospital Mt Scopu s

In the year 1939 the Hadassah Women’s Organization founded a teaching hospital on Mt Scopus. It was designed by architect Erich Mendelssohn.

After the war of Independence of 1948 when Mt Scopus fell on Jordanian hands the hospital could not be operated and therefore closed.

The drop that filled the cup in that case was that on April of 1948 a convoy of doctors and nurses on their way to Mt Scopus under supervision of the UN was attacked and all 78 Jews were killed in the ambush.

  • Botanical Garden

Botanist Alexander Eig founded the Botanical Garden on Mt Scopus and it contains a huge collection of Israeli uncultivated plants.

The Jerusalem Campus of Brigham Young University

Brigham Young University Jerusalem Center

It is owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. At the beginning it created some controversy for fear that the Mormons would start proselytizing in Israel. After their pledge on the contrary, the building was allowed to continue and now a beautiful building adorns Mt Scopus with an awe inspiring view of Jerusalem. By the way, the building of the Mormon University as it is usually called, has won many awards due to its impressive architecture.

What can I tell you? A visit to Mt Scopus in Jerusalem is an experience you won’t forget.

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