National Geographic : 1952 Dec
840 Maynard Owen Williams. National Geographic Staff Jewish Pilgrims Cross the Valley of Gehenna to Visit David's Tomb on Mount Zion The shallow Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), once the scene of child sacrifice to the god Moloch and later an ever-burning refuse heap, became to the ancient Jews a symbol of Hell. Today part of it is no man's land separating Arab and Jewish sectors of Jerusalem. Hidden behind the olive tree at left, the old walled city now lies in Jordan. David's tomb, which belongs to Israel, stands behind the trees at upper right. by many a stony path up Olivet or down the Valley of Hinnom (Gehenna), toward the fer tile gardens below the Pool of Siloam. Shafts of light, piercing the gloom, blind one to the dark corners which are everywhere. Shadowy forms emerge from dim tunnels, their cloaks adding an air of mystery to their silent passing. The flare of blazing ovens on the sweaty faces of the bakers might be the flames of Inferno. It takes imagination to picture these people as those whom Jesus knew and loved. "Peace," a Greeting and a Hope But all is not revealed to the eye. Gradu ally the ear adds its evidence. An English voice-"Goodbye." Why, that's "God be with you." An Arab-"Aleikum es-salaam." That's "And with you be peace." In Nazareth Christian Arabs, with the religion of Christ, the race of Mohammed, and the citizenship of Israel, say "Shalom" (Peace), as does any good Israeli. Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed grew up in a hard, inhospitable land which could not daunt their faith. Around the world, Jews, Chris tians, and Moslems have carried their dreams of a Holy Land. As Christmas time draws near, the age-old dream is renewed. Little children know the story. How mighty Augustus taxed this stubborn land. How hon est, fearful citizens of David's city crowded into Bethlehem. How a weary mother laid her infant in a manger because they had no bed. Actually, Joseph and Mary were far more fortunate than those who had beds but could not sleep. For them, Christmas was only tax day. The first angelic Christmas carol has burst the bounds of Bible Lands, to circle the earth, for it finds response in the hearts of men: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." To men the world around, this heavenly song, this deathless dream, make tiny Pales tine the Holy Land.