Yehuda Glick: Israel's modern-day Temple Mount zealot

Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the Israeli targeted in a Jerusalem shooting attack, is one of the most high-profile campaigners for Jewish prayer rights at the flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Like others in the messianic nationalist right Glick, 48, is loathed by Palestinians who see any Jewish presence on the plateau in the Old City, which houses Islam’s third-holiest shrine, as an intolerable provocation.

A high-profile figure who has made no secret of his passion to see Jews praying at the compound, Glick nearly paid with his life on Wednesday when a Palestinian gunman on a motorbike opened fire, hitting him in the stomach, chest, neck and arm.

He was critically wounded, although his condition is now classed as very serious but stable, medics say.

Easily spotted in a crowd, the tall, bearded redhead was born in New York and immigrated to Israel at the age of nine with his family.

His father, Professor Shimon Glick, said his son’s goal in life was to see the lifting of the Israeli police ban on Jewish prayer at the compound, which is known to Jews as the Temple Mount after the two Jewish temples that stood there in Biblical times.

It is Judaism’s holiest site.

A tour guide by profession, the 48-year-old recently told an Israeli newspaper that the esplanade was at the core of his being.

“The Temple Mount is the source of my life and also the source of my income,” he told Yediot Aharonot.

A resident of Otniel, an Orthodox Jewish settlement south of Hebron in the West Bank, Glick said he had visited the compound “more than a thousand times”.

– Death threats –

A prolific communicator, Glick has been known to send daily statements to the media, complaining of the “harassment” suffered by Jewish visitors to the compound — by both Muslim worshippers and the Israeli police.

He had been arrested several times for trying to pray at the Temple Mount — an act forbidden by Israeli police who say it is likely to engender friction with Muslim worshippers.

Visiting the site is also banned by Israel’s chief rabbinate which says it is forbidden under Jewish law due to issues of ritual impurity.

His father said he had been the object of a Palestinian hate campaign.

“He has for several days been the target of specific death threats in the Palestinian media,” he told public radio.

The shooting took place as Glick was leaving an Israeli cultural centre after delivering an address entitled: “Israel returns to the Temple Mount.”

His assailant, who was shot dead by Israeli police early on Thursday, was employed at the centre’s restaurant and had just finished his shift when he opened fire at Glick.

Glick is the current head of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, one of several religious-nationalist groups seeking to build a Third Jewish Temple on the mount, an act which would likely unleash a political and religious tsunami throughout the Islamic world and beyond.

The influence of such groups on the right wing of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party has led one of its MPs to push a draft law calling for increased Jewish access to the site.

But Netanyahu has reassured Jordan, which has custodial rights over the Al-Aqsa compound and other Muslim sites in the city, that there will be no change to the status quo.


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