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Nebi Samuel (Har Shmuel)

A holy site on the top of the Mt. Shmuel and within the boundaries of "Nebi Samawel", a destroyed Arab village.
The mount is located about 6 KM northwest from Jerusalem and rises to the height of 885 meters above sea level.

A tradition from the Byzantine period mentions Nebi Samuel as the burial place of the Prophet Samuel, despite the Bible verse, which says he was buried in his own home of Rama: "Now Samuel died; and Israel were gathered together to mourn him, and they buried him in his own house at Rama" (I Samuel 25:1).

Ram or Arram in the north of Jerusalem on the way to Ramallah is identified as the Biblical Rama. This identification is based on the Arab transmission of the place name; Hebrew "Rama" (height) is "Ram" in Arabic, ("Arram" is "the height").

Since the Middle Ages, Mount Samuel has been acknowledged as the burial place of the Prophet by the Jews as well.

No remnants from the time of the Bible were found until 1980, but the intensive and fundamental excavations being carried out today may change existing theories about Nebi Samuel's identification.

In time of the Crusades, it was known as "the mount of happiness" , in remembrance of the First Crusades who arrived there in 1099 and had a view toward the city of Jerusalem.

The Jewish traveler Benjamin Metudela (12th century) reported that on the site was a church named "Sante Samuel de Shilo"; the place entered Jewish hands in the 15th and 16th centuries, and the church became a synagogue.
After a battle between Jews and Moslems in the following century the building was coverted into a Mosque.

From the early 19th century, Jews attempted without success, to settle here.

Because of its highly strategic location commanding one of the routes to Jerusalem and some of Jerusalem's neighborhoods, Nebi Samuel has seen a great deal of combat.

In the War of Independence, the Har-El division fought here on the night of the 22nd of April 1948; they captured the nearby village of Beit Ikhsa, but on their way to Nebi Samuel they were caught in an ambush, and many of the soldiers were killed, which prevented them reaching Nebi Samuel.

For nineteen years Nebi Samuel was a fortress of the Jordanian Legion.

In the Six Day War the Har-El tank division captured the site in a short battle, which enabled the Israeli army forces to cut off the Jerusalem - Ramallah highway.

Today many Jews visit the place especially on 25 of the month Ayar, the day of Samuel's death.


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