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Jabel Muntar (in Arabic: The Guards’ mountain) is the highest mountain in the Judean Desert, the region between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. By Jewish tradition, Jabel Muntar is the site of Azazel, the place where the High Priest pushed an scapegoat to its death on the Day of Atonement, the holiest day in the year in Judaism. The scapegoat’s death, according to the Bible, atones to the public of its years’ sins. According to the Talmud, the Azazel was 12 miles east of Jerusalem, with ten stations set along its path from Jerusalem’s temple.

Jabel Muntar and Christian Monasticism

In the Byzantine period (4th-7th centuries AD), a tower, and later a monastery, were built on Muntar’s summit. It became one of many monasteries that flourished in the Judean Desert during that period.

Touring Jabel Muntar

Jabel Muntar can only be reached by 4×4 off-road vehicle. Very few remains of its monastery are still visible, and the site has never been excavated. Its summit also provides stunning views of the Judean Desert, Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and Moab mountains.

A visit to the site can be combined in an off-road tour to the Judean Desert.

Contact us to inquire more about a private off-road tour to Jabel Muntar:

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