One of Israeli’s most well-known activist rabbis who pushed for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount was shot multiple times in the chest Wednesday night and is fighting for his life in a Jerusalem hospital.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick, chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, appeared in the new documentary released by WND Films, “End Times Eyewitness: Islam and the Unfolding Signs of the Messiah’s Return,” which was directed by Joel Richardson.
Glick had just left the Menachem Begin Heritage Center where he was one of the speakers for a conference titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount.”
He was putting some posters from the conference into his car when a man reportedly drove up on a motorcycle and asked Glick to identify himself. When he responded that he was Yehuda Glick, the man pulled a gun and shot him three times at point-blank range before speeding off, according to witnesses.
Police said the shooting occurred at approximately 10:30 p.m. Israel time outside the memorial center, located near the Temple Mount.
Glick was stabilized after surgery Thursday morning but his life was still in danger, hospital officials said.
“Shots were fired and the victim was rushed to an area hospital in serious condition,” Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Vos Iz Neias (What is News), a news site that publishes in Yiddish and English. “Special patrol units are searching the area for the suspect, and we are investigating the background of the incident.”
UPDATE: The suspected shooter, identified as a Palestinian member of Islamic Jihad who had spent more than 11 years in prison for “nationalistic crimes,” was located about eight hours later on Thursday morning and died in a shootout with Israeli police. The terrorist, 32-year-old Moataz Hejazi, worked at a restaurant within the Heritage Center, the Jerusalem Post reported, and had somehow passed a background check. He was released from prison two years ago and had said in a past interview with Palestinian TV Al Quds that “I wish to be a thorn in the throats of the Zionist plan to Judaize Jerusalem.”
Glick has a long history of advocating for Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount and a city official said, “It was an assassination attempt. This is very serious.”
Following the shooting, Police Chief Yohanan Danino ordered the police readiness level raised to the second highest level in every district nationwide.
The Times of Israel is reporting that Israel has closed off the Temple Mount following the shooting to both Muslims and Jews “until further notice.”
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas responded by saying the closing of the Temple Mount amounted to a “declaration of war” on the entire Arab and Islamic nation, the Jerusalem Post reported Thursday morning.
The Temple Mount Heritage Foundation is an umbrella organization of several Temple Mount groups and Glick has been actively involved for at least 25 years, Richardson told WND.
“He’s been going up to the Temple Mount and letting the people know the importance of the Temple Mount to the Jews,” Richardson said. “What’s real sad is all the headlines will say ‘right-wing rabbi’ and make him sound like a zealot, but he is one of the sweetest, kindest, almost silly at times, just fun, yet passionate guys you will ever meet. You know my heart is just broken. I know he has a family.”
In the interview with Richardson for “End Times Eyewitness,” Glick spoke passionately about the prospects for rebuilding the Temple. He said it was even possible that the existing Dome of the Rock Muslim shrine could be incorporated into the rebuilt Temple, but only one ingredient was missing – an Islamic faith that would be tolerant of Christians and Jews and willing to live in peace.
Glick said that because Islam worshiped one God, he could see a time when all three monotheistic religions could worship together in the same Temple, as long as there was an understanding of tolerance and peace.
“One house for all of those who are out to say ‘God is one, his name is one,'” Glick told Richardson in the documentary film. “This is the dream. The Dome of the Rock has a strong potential to be that because it’s in the right location, it represents a religion faithful to one God. It only needs one more thing: agree to religious tolerance and peace among faithful people.”
Glick was born in the United States and moved to Israel with his parents as a young child.
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He was a student of the late Rabbi Menachem Fromen, who had regularly met with Hamas and various other Muslim leaders and was pursuing peace and reconciliation before his death last year.
Richardson said it’s a shame that much of the Israeli press will go out of its way to paint Glick as a right-wing fanatic, which he said is a total mis-characterization.
“He is just really a very peaceful guy. In my interview, his whole thing was Jews and Muslims reconciling. In his vision, they would be able to worship together on the Temple Mount so long as Muslims agree to tolerance and peace,” Richardson said.
“Fromen just died last year. When I brought that up, he just kind of got a little tear in his eye and said, ‘Fromen was my rabbi,'” Richardson said.
“I remember him saying ‘if I don’t leave right now, my wife’s going to kill me.’ I’m guessing he’s maybe late 40s, maybe 50. He’s just a guy with a tremendous sense of humor,” Richardson continued. “He gave me a big hug, and we had a great conversation. We’ve corresponded quite a bit over the years, but that was the first time I’d met him in person.”
Radical Muslims do not like Jews going up to the Temple Mount to pray, so any high-profile rabbi such as Glick, who encouraged Jewish prayer on the Mount, would have been in constant danger.
“The irony of that is there’s actually a few verses in the Quran that affirm Allah gave the land to the Jews, but despite that there’s just such a vehement anti-Semitism, they don’t want any Jews going to the Temple Mount,” Richardson said. “There was a little booklet put out in 1970s that openly talked about the Jewish history. But today, because Islam has become such an imperialistic religion, wherever they go – whether it’s Iraq, Afghanistan – they’re trying to erase the local history, and that’s exactly what they’re doing on the Temple Mount.”
Glick predicted just last week that the situation on the Temple Mount would change only after an act of violence against Jews.
“When will the change take place?” he told Haaretz. “As soon as the Arabs harm someone on the Temple Mount, the prime minister will wake up and it will be too late.”
“Violence is escalating every day, and the police are simply helpless,” Glick said last week. “Police impotence leads to violence.”
Dr. Yonatan Halevy, director-general of Shaare Zedek told the Jerusalem Post that Glick was undergoing surgery for wounds in the chest and the stomach.
“His situation at this moment is stable but his life is still at risk,” Halevy told the Post. He added that Glick has lost a lot of blood and had been given many transfusions.
Glick’s father Shimon, who is in the hospital awaiting results of the surgery, told the media, “Everyone who reads Facebook and newspapers knows his life had been threatened. “Because he is a red head and tall, he stands out,” Shimon said.
“I am hoping that he will recover and continue his work,” he said.
Glick was also a spokesman for the Joint Committee of Temple Organizations.
Glick was taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Bayit Yehudi Minister Uri Ariel said following the shooting, “I am praying for the full recovery of Yehuda Glick. The bullets fired at him tonight were directed at all the Jews that want to exercise their Jewish and moral right to visit the most holy place to the Jewish people and to pray at the Temple Mount.
“I call on the prime minister to immediately allow every Jew to freely go to the Temple Mount and to act with an iron fist against the criminals responsible for this deed.”