Set to enter Knesset, Temple Mount activist says he will stay away from the holy site


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Yehuda Glick, an Israeli activist who wants Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, said he would stay away from the holy site after he is sworn in as a member of Knesset.

Glick, who was 33rd on the Likud party’s candidates’ list in the last elections, will enter the Knesset following the resignation of Moshe Yaalon, who was the defense minister.

Following the advice of security advisers, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu several weeks ago ordered Knesset members to refrain from visiting the Temple Mount because of tensions over the site.

Glick, 50, told Israel Hayom that in the Knesset, he would work to “turn Jerusalem and the Temple Mount into a nexus of world peace and promote justice and peace, and always keep Jerusalem in my thoughts. Jerusalem is Zion, and the Temple Mount lies at its center.”

Glick has visited the Temple Mount frequently, leading tours there for other Jews. He leads a coalition of groups seeking greater Jewish access to the site, including one whose objectives, according to its website, include “liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation” and “removing” the Dome of the Rock and the Al- Aqsa mosque from the site.

A Muslim trust, the Jordanian Waqf, administers the site, which is holy to Jews and Arabs.

In October 2014, Glick was seriously wounded in an attempted assassination at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman.

He told Haaretz he would not be upset to give up the opportunity to sit in the Knesset if Yaalon changes his mind.

“I was afraid that I’d join the Knesset after someone was caught doing something shameful and having to resign, and I’m glad that didn’t happen,” Glick said. “I’m very sorry Yaalon has gone. I think the nation owes him a great debt and that this is a big loss for the Likud party.

“If he changes his mind I’ll be the first to rejoice. I do understand the constraints Netanyahu was operating under and I have no complaints.”

Glick, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Otniel, was born in the United States and is an ordained rabbi.

Recommended from JTA