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History of Jerusalem: Jordan's Desecration of Jerualem

(1948 - 1967)

Soon after Israel declared its independence, the surrounding Arab states invaded. The Arab Legion of Jordan attacked Jerusalem. Their forces blocked Jerusalem’s roads and cut off the city’s access to water. After bitter fighting, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City fell to the vastly superior arms and numbers of the Arab Legion on May 27, 1948. The surviving Jewish inhabitants fled to the “New City,” the four-fifths of the capital that Israel successfully held.

Nearly twenty years later, during the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel’s army liberated the Old City, finding the Jewish Quarter completely neglected and much of it destroyed.

The following is photographic evidence of the destruction. All but one of the 35 synagogues within the Old City were destroyed; those not completely devastated had been used as hen houses and stables filled with dung-heaps, garbage. and carcasses. The revered Jewish graveyard on the Mount of Olives was in complete disarray with thousands of tombstones broken, some of which were used as building materials for roads and latrines. Large areas of the cemetery were leveled to provide a short-cut to a new hotel. Hundreds of Torah scrolls and thousands of holy books were plundered and burned to ashes.


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  • Jordanian hotel built on The Mount of Olives. In the background is the road cut through the cemetery.

  • Gravestones were used by the Jordanians as cheap building material.

  • The Jordinians decied that gavestones would make good stairs. You can see Hebrew inscriptions on the stones.

  • Road made of Jewish tombstones.

  • Tombstones used as pavement in the Azaria Arab Legion camp on the Jerusaelm-Jericho road

  • Tombstone used as a bench at the Azaria Arab Legion camp on the Jerusaelm-Jericho road

  • Tombstones used for a wall terrace in Jerusalem

  • The Jordanians used Jewish tombstones from The Mount of Olives for extensive army purposes. This is the inside of an Arab Legion Barrack at the Azaria Camp.

  • This synagogue, once a beautiful structrure in the Old City, was reduced by the Jordanians to rubble.

  • This used to be a place were students would learn and people would sit and pray. These broken walls are all that remain.

  • The pile of stones used to be a gate to this synagogue. This gate has beautiful designs and was an attraction of this place of worship.

  • This synagogue has been ripped apart. The back wall used to be the ark with many Torah scrolls. More than 300 men used to pray here every Shabbat.

  • One of the first synagogues the Jordanians destroyed. It used to be an imposing structure on the skyline that could be seen from miles away.