Most American Jews have probably sat down to watch The Ten Commandments on cable television around Passover time. The special effects are a little silly, but it definitely tells the exodus story well. Part of the story is Moses going up to Mount Sinai to receive the ten commandments. Recent archaeological research has shown evidence that Mount Sinai might actually be in the Negev in Israel, and not in Egypt. The mountain believed to be Mount Sinai is called Mount Karkom.
The Real Mount Sinai: Can it Be?
While it has been believed that Mount Karkom is the biblical Mount Sinai for quite a while now, some new evidence has literally come to light to make biblical archaeologists believe it even more. About three years ago during the December solstice (December 21st, the shortest day of the year), sunlight was seen hitting a stone on Mount Karkom, and the light looked like the burning bush where Moses encountered God for the first time. The same phenomenon has been witnessed every year on December 21st at exactly noon.
One of the most fascinating things to see on Mount Karkom is the more than 44,000 drawings carved in ancient stones around the area. Biblical historians say that these drawings could be from the Israelites, as they waited for Moses to come down from the mountain. Witnessing such ancient history and touching the same stone touched by Israelite ancestors thousands of years ago is a pretty surreal experience.
On Mount Karkom is the more than 44,000 drawings carved in ancient stones around the area (photo: Batzi Ziv)
These interesting discoveries make Mount Karkom a pretty unique and special place to visit, especially if Mount Karkom is the ancient Mount Sinai.
Worth a visit, but not so simple…
Mount Karkom is located near Mizpe Ramon in the Negev desert. Because Mount Karkom is located in an IDF training zone, not any traveller can go anytime to hike and visit. However, every Passover, the site is open to the public because of its historical and religious relevance.
Mount Karkom is located near Mizpe Ramon in the Negev desert (photo: Batzi Ziv)
The Special Connection to Passover
With Passover just around the corner now, it’s a great opportunity to think back to our roots, and connect to the story we hear each year from the hagada. Even the thought that the story depicts some part of reality is enough to help us connect in an even deeper way to the holiday and to the history.
Puzzle Israel believes in the importance of culture, tradition, and history. We also believe in stepping off the beaten path and experiencing something that not everyone has. Even if you’re traveling in Israel at a time when the site is closed, visits may be arranged through Puzzle Israel to Mount Karkom. The site is cool on so many levels, and worth checking out when you’re here next!