It was a military secret until 1972, when its very
existence was first revealed.
During the War of Independence, fire from Arab League
forces, made it impossible to reach the positions on Mt.
Zion. These served as the forward position in the
defense of southwest Jerusalem. At the time, a tunnel
linked Mt. Zion with the Yemin Moshe neighborhood (in
the western part of the city). The tunnel was very
narrow and an alternative method was needed to evacuate
the wounded and bring supplies to the soldiers on Mt.
Uriel Jefetz designed this unique cable car. While it
was only in use for half a year the IDF maintained it in
working order from 1948 until 1967, should the need for
it ever arise. The Harel Brigade conquered Mt. Zion on
May 18, 1948.
The cable car spanned 200 yards/meters and was in use
only at night. During the day it was lowered into the
valley, so that the enemy could not detect it. A trip in
this cable car only lasted two minutes Suspended 50
yards/meters above the Ben Hinom Valley it had a maximum
load of 5500 pounds (250 kilos) and linked the Israeli
position on Mt. Zion with the Israeli position at St.
John Hospital (a clinic for eye diseases). The hospital
was built in 1882 under the auspices of the Duke of Kent
(of the Order of St. John).
The site is maintained as a small museum and you can
see the authentic cable car (the car is authentic,
although the cable has been restored) as well as a good
view of Mt. Zion.
Jefetz was Commander of the I.Z.L.’s (Irgun Zvai
Leumi) Engineering Corps. He was awarded the Israel
Security Prize and received a number of the IDF’s
highest commendations for his participation in the Yom
Kippur Was and the terrorist siege at Maalot.
A number of other things are worth noting, at this
1. As you exit the museum, take a left and follow the
sidewalk. The Mt. Zion
Hotel will be on the same side
as the museum. Just past the entrance to the hotel, you
will find an area with potted plants. At its edge is a
wonderful look out point.
2. Right across from the museum is the Jerusalem
House of Quality, which is a great place to see artists
at work. Most of the artists here create jewelry as well
as a variety of Judaica items in silver, and gold. (see
related article, On
the Side - Spice Boxes).
3. A short walk down the hill, will find you at the
Jerusalem Cinematheque, which is a great place to go and
have coffee (see related article, On
the Side - Coffee etc.). As you walk out of the Mt.
Zion Cable Car Museum, take a right and walk down the
hill. Steps will lead you down to a red-shingled
building. Once inside, go downstairs and you will find
the restaurant/cafe, named Cacao.
The Mt. Zion Cable Car Museum is located on Hebron
Visiting Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 9:00 AM-4:00 PM,
Friday 9:00 AM-1:00 PM.
Entry fees: Free