Israel, land and state, is more mountainous than not. Only the quasi-N-shaped network of lowlands—the Sharon and Coastal Plains, Hula Valley, Jezreel Valley, Jordan Valley, and Arava Valley—break up what is otherwise a country of hills and heights comprising the landscape’s central spine.
Over the course of 4,000 years of Jewish history, numerous elevations in Israel have featured in the most significant events within the realm of human affairs. Here is a glance at some of Israel’s most prominent summits and their natural and/or historical claims to fame:
- Hermon (Sirion, Snir) – Shared by Israel, Syria, and Lebanon, snow-capped Hermon abuts the basalt tableland of Bashan, sending streams and melting snow year-round down to the headwaters of the Jordan River and into the Hula Valley. Hermon is the southernmost part of the Anti-Lebanon range and its highest peak reaches 9,232 ft. above sea level. Known in the Tanakh for its dews, lions, and cypresses, Hermon was perhaps once the location of a Ba’al shrine, hence its onetime appellation, Ba’al-Hermon. Sidonians of neighboring Phoenicia called it Sirion, while Amorites knew it as Snir. Hivites possessed the mount prior to the Israelite conquest, following which the eastern part of the tribe of Menasheh acquired it. Minor temples were erected on its slopes during the Roman era, as was a temple atop its summit. Druze Arabs refer to Hermon as Jebel al-Sheikh (“The Chieftain’s Mount”) because it has traditionally been where their religious leader dwells. Today the Snir Stream (Hatsbani) Nature Reserve features the Jordan River’s longest tributary.
- Bental – Bental is a dormant volcano in the Golan Heights and is covered with Israeli common oak trees. It reaches 3,842 ft. above sea level. The apex features an Israel Defense Forces fort constructed upon a previous Syrian fort, and offers excellent panoramic views of the Golan, Mount Hermon, and Syria. Kibbutz Merom Golan sits at its base.
- Meron – A mountain that featured a priestly town upon its peak, Meron lies three miles northwest of the mystical city of Tzfat and was often associated in the Talmud with the town of Gush Halav (Gischala) that lies four miles to the north. In 732 BCE, Assyrian Emperor Tiglat-Pileser conquered Meron in his campaign against the Kingdom of Israel. During the Great Revolt, the Galilean governor Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius) fortified Meron against the Romans. The renowned Talmudic sage Shimon bar Yohai (Rashbi) and his son Eleazar ben Shimon were buried atop the mount; their graves became a pilgrimage site, and to this day Jews flock to their tombs on Lag BaOmer. A synagogue was erected on Meron during the second or third centuries BCE, and its stately remains lie near the tombs. Hundreds of other tombs lie at the base of the mountain.
- Arbel – Situated in Lower Galilee, Arbel reaches 594 ft. above sea level and is distinguished by its high cliffs and early Byzantine synagogue ruins featuring columns and pews that date from the fourth century CE. The synagogue and attached settlement may have been the ancient town of Arbela (perhaps the Beit Arbel mentioned in Hosea; the alternate location is atop the opposite peak, Mount Nitai). The mountain is pockmarked with natural caves, some of which were artificially expanded into cave dwellings and interconnected via staircases. In the Hellenistic era, the Seleucid general Bacchides marched (for a second time) against Judah Maccabee and his fighters, encamping at Arbela and capturing it while slaughtering many residents. In the Roman era, partisans of the last Hasmonean king, Mattathias Antigonus, revolted in 39 BCE against the future King Herod the Great and sought refuge in the cliff caves from Herod and his Roman allies, who went to great pains to extract and smoke out the rebels and their families therefrom with fire. In 66 CE, during the early stages of the Great Revolt, Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius) had walls constructed around the caves in anticipation of the imminent Roman invasion. Jewish priests settled at Arbel following the destruction of the Second Temple. Today the mount hosts four modern villages: Arbel, Kfar Zeitim, Kfar Hittim, and Mizpah. At the base of the mountain lie the Jewish town of Migdal and the Arab village of Hamam.
- Nitai – Named after the local sage Nitai of Arbela, chief justice of the Sanhedrin during the reign of the Hasmonean ruler and high priest Johanan Hyrcanus, the mount lies just west of Mount Arbel and Lake Kinneret and north of the city of Tiberias. The sibling peaks of Nitai and Arbel are divided by the Arbel Valley (Nahal Arbel; known in Arabic as Wadi Hamam) and its stream. Nitai’s flat summit features a grove of trees and ruins of a walled settlement thought to be the ancient village of Arbela (perhaps the Beit Arbel mentioned in Hosea; the alternate location is atop the opposite peak, Mount Arbel). Portions of its slopes are sheer cliffs, and there are also numerous caves and several quarries in the mountainside.
- Carmel – A mountain range connected to Israel’s northernmost coastal plain, the Jezreel Valley, and the Mediterranean Sea. Revered as a sacred promontory from ancient times, Carmel was the site of Phoenician worship of Hadad (Ba’al of Carmel). The mountain’s highest peak reaches 1,742 ft. above sea level. During the period of the Israelite conquest, Joshua defeated the king of Yokne’am of Carmel. Allotted to the tribal territory of Asher, Carmel was most famously the site of Elijah the prophet’s triumph over the priests of Ba’al during the reign of King Ahav of Israel. Here the Tishbite rid himself of King Ahaziah of Israel’s two commanders with their 50-strong companies sent to fetch him. Elijah’s Cave lies at the base of the mount and is venerated by Jews, Christians, and Muslims. Elisha the prophet also dwelled amid its treed heights and slopes, which abound in olives, oaks, pines, and laurels. On Carmel Elisha was visited by the grieving Shunammite woman, whose deceased son he revived. In the Roman era, the then-general Vespasian and, later, Emperor Trajan consulted the oracle Zeus of Carmel atop the eminence. Tractate Niddah of the Talmud cites Carmel wine, and the mountain was beloved for its fruitfulness and loveliness. Christians worshiped St. Elias here, and in the 12th century reclusive hermits were drawn to the mountain’s numerous grottoes. In 1156, Count Berthold of Limoges founded a monastery atop the traditional site of Elisha’s cave; Muslims slew the monks and demolished the monastery in 1291. Today the city of Haifa has expanded to cover a sizable portion of the mountain, while the town of Zikhron Ya’akov lies at its southernmost tip and the Druze Arab villages of Isfiya and Daliyat al-Carmel are nestled amid the central area. The eclectic artists’ village of Ein Hod also rests atop Carmel.
- Tavor – A lone, dome-shaped mount situated in the Jezreel Valley. Tavor’s peak reaches 1,886 ft. above sea level and towers over the surrounding plain. During the period of the Israelite conquest, as a conspicuous landmark visible from a distance, the oak-covered mountain was designated as a boundary marker for the tribal territories of Issachar, Zevulun, and Naphtali. In the era of the Judges, Israelite general Barak marshaled his forces from the northern tribes against the Canaanite general Sisera; the Israelites descended the slopes hastily and routed the approaching enemy, whose chariots got bogged down amid muddy conditions. In Hellenistic times, Tavor (known in Greek as Itabyrion/Atabyrium) was a royal fortress and conquered by Seleucid ruler Antiochus III in 218 BCE during his campaign against his regional rival Ptolemy VII Philopator. In 55, Pompey the Great’s general Aulus Gabinius defeated the Hasmonean prince Alexander, son of Aristobulus II, at the base of Tavor. Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius) fortified the site anew in 67 CE during the Great Revolt, but after a battle in the plain it was soon surrendered to the victorious Roman general Placidus and his 600 cavalrymen. Later, Christians designated Tavor as the locus for the transfiguration of Jesus of Nazareth; in the Byzantine era, a basilica was erected atop the peak. Benedictines, Muslim Arabs, and Hospitaler knights all subsequently possessed the mount until the Franciscan order claimed it for its monks in 1873. Today the mountain features a Greek Orthodox monastery and a Franciscan basilica, as well as a road and hiking trails ascending in switchback fashion toward the summit. The Israeli Arab village of Daburiyyah hangs off the slopes, and the village Kfar Tavor lies nearby in the vale.
- Gilboa – A bow-shaped mountain range southwest of Beit She’an, Gilboa overlooks the Beit She’an and Harod Valleys. Its highest peak reaches 1,709 ft. above sea level. At the base of the mountain ridge lie natural springs (Ma’ayan Harod, Gan HaShlosha). Here the Philistines were victorious in battle against the Israelites under King Saul, who was killed along with three of his sons, for which the mountain was execrated by David. Today Kibbutz Ma’aleh Gilboa and the Arab village Faqqua rest atop the range, and at the base lie the moshav Gidona along with the kibbutzim Beit Alfa, Heftziba, and Nir David.
- Eval – Eval is located just north of Shechem and reaches 2,900 ft. above sea level. Joshua erected upon the mountain an altar of unhewn stones whitewashed with lime, whereon burnt offerings and peace offerings were made; he also inscribed in stone the Torah in the sight of all Israel. In a solemn ceremony, half of the people (the six tribes of Reuven, Gad, Asher, Zevulun, Dan, Naphtali) stood atop Eval to pronounce the curses against those who disobeyed the Torah, whereas the other half atop Gerizim pronounced the blessings upon those who obeyed the Torah, while the priests and Levites surrounded the Ark of the Covenant in the well-watered valley between the mountains. Ruins and tombs feature on, and at the base of, Eval.
- Gerizim – Gerizim is located just south of Shechem and reaches 2,890 ft. above sea level. In a solemn ceremony, half of the people (the six tribes of Shimon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, Benjamin) stood atop Gerizim to pronounce the blessings upon those who obeyed the Torah, whereas the other half had stood atop Eval to pronounce the curses against those who disobeyed the Torah, while the priests and Levites surrounded the Ark of the Covenant in the well-watered valley between the mountains. In the Persian era, the Samaritans constructed their own temple and altar on the mountain’s summit, which was in the Hellenistic era converted into a pagan temple to Zeus by Antiochus IV Epiphanes and later destroyed circa 120 BCE by the Hasmonean ruler and high priest Johanan Hyrcanus. The Samaritan version of Deuteronomy transposes Eval and Gerizim so that the stones inscribed with the Torah and the altar were to be erected upon Gerizim instead. In the Roman era, the prefect Pontius Pilate massacred a large assembly of Samaritans on the mountain; in 67 CE, during the Great Revolt, 11,600 Samaritans were massacred by Roman legionaries led by the Roman commander of the fifth legion, Cerealis. According to Samaritan chronicles, following the Bar Kokhba Revolt Emperor Hadrian constructed a pagan shrine to Zeus on Gerizim and there placed the bronze gates of the Temple. The Talmud records a statement by Shimon ben Eliezer that Samaritan wines are proscribed due to their use in the worship of a dove idol erected atop Gerizim. In 484, Samaritans revolted against Byzantine Emperor Zeno and were expelled from Gerizim; a church to Mary was built on Gerizim, and the Samaritan synagogue expropriated. In 529, after another Samaritan rebellion, Byzantine Emperor Justinian erected a protective wall around the church. Muslims during the reigns of Caliph al-Mansur and Caliph al-Mamun destroyed the church and defensive wall. Today the Samaritans continue to dwell part of the year on the mountain slopes, pray in the direction of Gerizim, and offer their paschal sacrifice just west of their former temple site (since desecrated by a Muslim graveyard).
- Ba’al-Hazor (Ramat Hazor) – According to the Genesis Apocryphon, one of the seven original documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls discovered in Cave 1 near Qumran, Ramat Hazor is the site between Beit El and Ai where Abraham built an altar and invoked God’s name and later, after parting with his nephew Lot, received a divine message: “Look all around you, north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever. I will make your offspring like the dust of the earth, so that if anyone could count the dust, then your offspring could be counted. Go, walk through the length and breadth of the land, for I am giving it to you.” Ba’al-Hazor reaches 3,318 ft., sits on the border between the tribal territories of Benjamin and Ephraim, and is the highest mountain in Samaria. Here King David’s son Absalom hosted a sheepshearing feast at which he avenged his sister Tamar, who had been raped by their stepbrother Amnon, by having a drunk Amnon assassinated. Ba’al-Hazor is perhaps also to be identified with the Mount Azotus mentioned in 1 Maccabees in connection with the death of Judah Maccabee during the fateful Battle of Elasa.
- Moriah (Zion/Temple Mount) – The holiest mountain in Israel, located in the epicenter of Jerusalem, on which Abraham was divinely instructed to build an altar and prepare his son Isaac as a sacrifice, on which King David of Israel built an altar, and on which King Solomon of Israel erected the First Temple. Before David purchased it, it was the site of Araunah the Jebusite’s threshing-floor. The three pilgrimage festivals of Sukkot, Pesah, and Shavuot annually compelled Israelites to ascend to Moriah and the Temple, where offerings were made by the priesthood on the people’s behalf as part of the sacerdotal services. The Babylonians destroyed the Temple in 586 BCE, but tens of thousands of Judahites under Sheshbazzar, Zerubavel, and Joshua the high priest returned from the Babylonian Captivity in 538 and built on Moriah the Second Temple, completed in 516. In the Persian era, the high priest Johanan slew his brother Jeshua in the Temple, prompting the Persian general Bagoas (Bagoses) to illicitly enter its precincts. In the Hellenistic era, the high priest Jaddua welcomed Alexander the Great to Jerusalem and directed him in offering a sacrifice in the Temple, and the high priest Shimon II The Just repaired damage to the Temple. In 169, the Temple was plundered and desecrated by the Seleucid tyrant Antiochus IV Epiphanes, but it was consecrated anew by Judah Maccabee and his heroic brothers in 164 during the Maccabean Rebellion, giving rise to the annual festival of Chanukah. Temple Mount was then fortified with high walls and strong towers. In 63, during the Hasmonean fratricidal war, Roman general Pompey the Great occupied Jerusalem and invaded the Temple. In 20, King Herod the Great began renovating the Second Temple, a relatively modest sanctuary, into a marvelous and elaborate structure resting upon a Temple Mount enlarged through embanking, its peristylar esplanade supported by a retaining wall comprised of ashlar stones (of which the Western Wall or Kotel forms a part). In 66 CE, after Roman procurator Gessius Florus had plundered the Temple and the Zealot leader Eleazar ben Hananiah had ceased the sacrifices in the Temple on the emperor’s behalf, the Great Revolt broke out, resulting in the Second Temple’s destruction by the Romans under Titus in 70. Following the Bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135), Emperor Hadrian renamed Jerusalem, which he had turned into a Roman colony, Aelia Capitolina, and erected a shrine to the pagan god Jupiter Capitolinus atop Temple Mount. In 637, Jerusalem was conquered by the Muslim Arabs under Caliph Omar, who had a wooden mosque constructed atop Temple Mount; this modest structure was replaced in 691 by the Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik’s Dome of the Rock shrine, reportedly built employing the labor of 10 Jewish families freed from poll taxes, and the adjacent Al-Aqsa Mosque (repeatedly destroyed by earthquakes and rebuilt until the current structure was built by the Fatimids in 1035). In 1099, after conquering Jerusalem and establishing the Latin Kingdom, Crusaders converted the Muslim edifices on Temple Mount into a church and palace, but these were restored to their previous incarnations after Sultan Saladin’s conquest of Jerusalem in 1187. In 1967, Temple Mount was captured by Israeli paratroopers from Jordanian Arabs during the Six-Day War, but Israel ceded control of the esplanade and its sacred edifices to a Muslim Arab waqf (religious trust), which from 1996-1999 seriously abused its authority by conducting unauthorized and unsupervised construction and demolition on the southern end of Temple Mount using bulldozers and by discarding unearthed archaeological artifacts, some of which have since been reclaimed with great diligence. Moriah was perhaps named after the Hebrew word for myrrh (mor), the aromatic resin burned on the altar for a sweet savor, or else may have referred to the Amorites. The name Zion once referred specifically to the hill below Moriah, formerly a Jebusite stronghold, which became known as the City of David, but the name became synonymous with Moriah already in the biblical era, as evidenced by references in Psalms and Joel (and later in I Maccabees). The modern “Mount Zion” in Jerusalem’s upper city (western ridge), where the tomb of King David, the Coenaculum (scene of the Last Supper), the Church of the Dormition of Mary, and a small Holocaust museum are situated, results from a misnomer in the writings of the priestly historian Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius).
- Mount of Olives (Olivet) – Divided from Temple Mount and the City of David by the Kidron Valley, the Mount of Olives ridge extends eastward from Jerusalem and includes three peaks. King David worshiped atop the Ascent of Olives, as the site is referred to in the Tanakh. The prophet Ezekiel envisioned the divine glory standing atop the mount; the prophet Zechariah prophesied of a day in which God would stand upon the mount and cleave it in two, forming a valley extending east to west, with the upper half moving northward and the lower half moving southward. A Jewish necropolis dating from First Temple times hangs off of the mountain’s western slope. During the Second Temple era, the Mount of Olives hosted the initial station in the chain of flare beacons between the Land of Israel and Babylonia that relayed information concerning the Jewish calendar, such as the sanctifications of new moons. The site also was then the locus of the burning of the red heifer, and one or two bridges then linked the ridge with Temple Mount. Christians later erected churches and monasteries atop the Mount of Olives to commemorate the spots where they believe Jesus of Nazareth wept for Jerusalem, prayed with his disciples in the Garden of Gat-Shemanim (Gethsemane) on the night prior to his arrest, and ascended heavenward. When Jews were banned from Temple Mount during the Middle Ages, they circled the Mount of Olives seven times on the festival of Hoshana Rabbah. Rock-hewn tombs lie at the eastern base of the mount, including the Tomb of Pharaoh’s Daughter, the Tomb of Absalom, the Tomb of Zechariah, and the Tomb of Hezir’s Sons. Today the mountain’s peaks feature the Augusta Victoria church-hospital complex (commissioned by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany and completed in 1914) and the Arab village of al-Tur, a name derived from the ancient Aramaic appellation, Tura Zita. In 1967, the entire ridge was reclaimed from Jordanian Arabs by Israeli troops during the Six-Day War.
- Scopus – Technically one of the three peaks of the Mount of Olives, Scopus reaches 2,684 ft. above sea level. According to the priestly historian Joseph ben Matityahu (Josephus Flavius), Scopus was where Jaddua the high priest greeted the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great in the Hellenistic era. During the Great Revolt, the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, encamped upon Scopus in his assault on Jerusalem; the Roman general Titus later stationed two legions atop Scopus as well, levelling the ground between the mountain and King Herod the Great’s monuments adjoining the Serpent’s Pool. In 1925, the Hebrew University opened atop its apex.
- Herzl – Named after the founder of political Zionism, Binyamin Ze’ev (Theodor) Herzl, the western Jerusalem site hosts the annual official state ceremony concluding Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) services for Israel’s fallen, as well as the commencement of festivities for Yom HaAtzma’ut (Independence Day). A who’s who of the State of Israel’s leaders and dignitaries are interred in the national cemetery, as are grandees of the World Zionist Organization and Herzl family members. Israel’s Military Cemetery covers the mount’s northern slopes; Yad Vashem – The World Holocaust Remembrance Center is situated in the western area. The World Zionist Organization is responsible for developing and maintaining the site.
- Herodium (Herodion) – The locus of a battle between the last Hasmonean king, Mattathias Antigonus, and the future King Herod the Great. After defeating his rival for the throne, Herod in 28 BCE built a partially manmade mountain and fortified estate, named after himself, at the site. Lower Herodium, at the foot of the mount, was an additional palace complex with pools, gardens, and a bathhouse. Herod was buried here, and his mausoleum was finally discovered in 2007. During the Great Revolt (66–73 CE), the Zealots seized the mountain fortress until the Romans recaptured it following the destruction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem in 70. In the subsequent Bar Kokhba Revolt (132–135 CE), Herodium was again used as a rebel base by Jewish stalwarts who carved secret tunnels and caves onsite. The biblical town Tekoa and the modern village of the same name are nearby.
- Masada – Originally fortified during the Hasmonean era (either by the ruler and high priest Jonathan Maccabee or King Yannai Alexander), the isolated desert stronghold located a mile west of the Dead Sea served to protect the family of the future King Herod the Great during his war against the Hasmonean heir apparent, Mattathias Antigonus, who unsuccessfully besieged the bastion. A victorious Herod eventually renovated the site with a remarkable three-tier cliff-side palace. A Roman garrison was later installed here but was slain by Sicarii leader Menahem ben Judah and his men in 66 CE during the early stages of the Great Revolt. Menahem’s kinsman Eleazar ben Yair, after escaping Jerusalem, controlled the site for most of the revolt, during which one of the key Zealot leaders, Shimon bar Giora, also sojourned atop the mountain fort. Roman procurator Flavius Silva finally conquered Masada in 73, but was deprived of complete victory as the Sicarii defenders had elected to commit mass suicide instead of living as Roman slaves; 960 dead Jews were survived by only two women and five children who had concealed themselves in underground caverns. The fall of Masada brought the Great Revolt to its tragic and bitter end. In subsequent centuries, the fortress was occupied by Romans, Byzantine Christians, and Crusaders. From 1963-1965 excavations were undertaken under the supervision of former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Yigael Yadin. Today Masada is one of Israel’s most frequented historic sites, whose visitors clamber up the Roman ramp or winding snake path, or else opt for the modern cable car heading to and from the walled summit.
- Karkom (Saffron) – Rising from the central Negev Desert, Karkom attains 2,762 ft. The mount was a palaeolithic cult centre amid a plateau featuring 40,000 rock engravings. Religious activity at Karkom is thought to have achieved its acme from 2350-2000 BCE, with the site apparently being abandoned for most of the following millennium (c. 1950-1000 BCE). Equidistant from Kadesh Barnea and Petra, the peak has even been pegged as an alternate Mount Sinai, though this revisionist theory, which places the Exodus sometime in the Early Bronze Age, has not been generally accepted by biblical archaeologists or historians.
- Ramon – Situated southwest of the desert town of Mizpe Ramon in the southwestern corner of the erosion cirque (crater) Machtesh Ramon, close to the Israeli-Egyptian border, Ramon reaches 3,402 ft. above sea level and is the highest mountain in southern Israel. It is part of a cluster of peaks including Mount Romem, Mount Harif, and Mount Loz. Today the summit features an astronomical observatory for serious stargazers.
- Timna – A flat-topped mountain located in the heart of the sandy Timna Valley that descends toward the Arava Valley north of Eilat. Some of King Solomon’s copper mines lie nearby, as do the tall, red sandstone formations known as Solomon’s Pillars and the Egyptian shrine to the pagan goddess Hathor (built by Pharaoh Seti I). West of Mount Timna lie the ancient smelting camps where copper ore nodules were melted for their valuable metal. Between the second and fourth centuries BCE, Roman legionaries of the Legio III Cyrenaica were stationed in the vicinity. The summit of the mount affords breathtaking vistas of the surrounding rock structures, including mushroom hoodoos and natural arches artfully sculpted by wind, humidity, and water erosion. Today part of Park Timna, the mountain is also close to the artificial, recreational Lake Timna and a reconstructed Tabernacle.
Unlike the seafaring Phoenicians or the river-based Egyptians and Babylonians, the Israelites were largely mountain dwellers immersed in muscular hill country, a geography engendering a lifeway combining shepherding, husbandry, and horticulture. Their lofty heights provided advantageous ground from which to survey their surroundings, defensive barriers against more powerful foes prone to wars of conquests, and high places for sacrificial offerings—both ordained and prohibited—until finally idolatry ceased with the Fall of Jerusalem (586 BCE) and religious worship was concentrated in Jerusalem during Second Temple times.
The mountains of Israel are scripturally immortalized in the Tanakh, perhaps nowhere as famously as in Psalms:
“When Israel went out of Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became His sanctuary,
And Israel His dominion.
The sea saw it and fled;
Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
The little hills like lambs.
What ails you, O sea, that you fled?
O Jordan, that you turned back?
O mountains, that you skipped like rams?
O little hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the God of Jacob,
Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain of waters.” (Pss. 114)
The Hebrew language contains numerous words to describe Israel’s elevations, including: har (mountain), givah (hill), ramah (height), tel (layered mound), arayma (heap/pile/stack), ma’aleh (ascent), pisgah (summit/peak), etc. Any map of Israel that is two-dimensional is, in effect, misleading. Ultimately, to understand the land requires one to ascend—giving rise to the time-honored expression, “making aliyah”.