Mount Jonah is the 9th section of the Israel National Trail and yet another amazing section of our National Trail. We’ll start the day in the Har Yona neighborhood; there we will need to get to the end of the road that leads to the village of Ein Mahil, a Muslim Town.
The 9th Section of the Israel Natinal Trail: Mount Jonah
At the junction, cross the road at a right turn and continue walking along the road on Ma’ale Yitzhak Boulevard in the Har Yona neighborhood in Nof Hagalil (Nazarat Ilit). On the way, you pass a split of trails with the blue marking; where you continue with the marking of the Israel Trail, and after about 2.2 km from the junction, you reach another split of two trails.
Turn left at the Israel Trail marking and descend from Ma’ale Yitzhak Boulevard in a steep descent towards Mashhad. After a descent of about 430 meters, you’ll reach Route 754; cross it very carefully, and turn right. Continue along the road for a few tens of meters and reach the junction and the entrance to the village of Mashhad.
Israel National Trail Mount Jonah
So the Arab little town of Mashhad was built on the ruins of the biblical city of Gath-Hepher; which according to what is mentioned in the Book of Kings was the city of the prophet Jonah. Ultimately Gath-Hepher was destroyed after the Second Temple period. In the 18th century, Muslim Arabs settled there. The tomb of the prophet Jonah is currently located in the compound of the a-Nabi Younes Mosque.
Furthermore, the tomb of the Prophet Jonah was registered in historical sources since the 4th century. Moreover, in the Middle Ages, many Jews visited it and prostrated themselves on its grave. The traveler Rabbi Petahya from Regensburg visited the place in 1180.
In addition, Jerome in Roman Times (Commentary on Jonah) describes the town ‘as an inconsiderable village’ and tells that the tomb of Jonah was nearby. Similarly, the medieval geographer Benjamin of Tudela also relates the tomb of Jonah in his travels to the area.