“And you shall go out to the Ben-Hinnom Valley which is at the entrance of the Harsith Gate, and you shall call there the words that I will speak to you… Therefore, behold days are coming, says the Lord, when this place will no longer be called Topheth or Ben-Hinnom Valley, but the Valley of Slaughter. (Jeremiah 19: 2-6)“
Israel’s everlasting capital, Jerusalem, has recently welcomed visitors to its newest attraction, predicted to become one of the most popular destinations in the city. A brand-new $20 million pedestrian suspension bridge that connects the vicinity of the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, the renowned Moses Montefiore Windmill, and the trendy First Train Station complex to Mount Zion (where King David’s Tomb and sites popular with Christian tourists are located) and the Old City itself (via the Zion’s gate). Construction took nine months. The 202-meter (663-foot) bridge is anticipated to develop into one of the city’s main attractions, rather than merely being a crossing point.
The bridge rises high above the biblical Ben-Hinnom Valley and offers views of its lush greenery. From its southern side it offers easy access to the valley itself, which is filled with ancient burial caves (the world’s oldest Biblical verse ever found was discovered in one of them), hiking trails, and an agricultural farm where tourists can participate in ancient crafts such as olive-picking, wine making and collecting honey.
The valley is referenced several times in the Bible. Besides being the border between the tribes of Judah and Benjamin (see Joshua 15:8), it was the site of the Molech worship, a depraved form of idol worship where the copper idol (with outstretched hands) was heated up and the parents would place their kids on its red-hot hands, killing them (see Jeremiah 7:31). The idol worship in the valley ended when the righteous King Josiah destroyed the idols and places of worship (see 2 Kings: 23:10). G-d later sent Jeremiah to the valley to warn the people about the destruction that would be wrought on Jerusalem if the people didn’t repent at the level expected of them (see Jeremiah 19: 2-6). Between 1948-1967 when Jordan occupied parts of Jerusalem, the valley was the border between Israel and Jordan.
As a tour guide leading walking tours of Jerusalem’s Old City, this is wonderful news for my tourists. (For a sample itinerary, including Jerusalem Old City walking tour, click here). The bridge will be open from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM daily.
Please visit the author’s Israel tour guiding site: https://guidedtoursofisrael.com
(All images are either free or properly licensed by the author for commercial use)