Former Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel hit back at the the Anti-Defamation League on Thursday, after the group issued a statement demanding he apologize to Muslims for suggesting the Dome of the Rock mosque be blown up.
Gimpel accused the ADL of publishing its statement without turning to him first for clarification of his comments and urged the group to "be particularly more careful when condemning Jews – especially in this region."
"As Jews, we are a family and we protect and defend each other and only fight as a last resort," he added.
"We are appalled by the notion that an Israeli rabbi, no less one
seeking elective office in Israel, would suggest an act of terrorism as a
legitimate means of achieving a religious objective," the ADL Israel
office said in a statement. "Terrorism is no joke, and expressions of
violent aggression in the name of Judaism or any religion are never
Gimpel clarified: "I was not calling for any violence on the Temple Mount and nowhere in the hidden realms of my soul do I desire to see anything like that occur."
"No English speaker – or anyone - walked out of the class planning to blow up the Muslim shrine. Only the politicians who wanted to hurt Naftali Bennett and the Bayit Yehudi brought this up from complete obscurity," he added.
Gimpel, who is 14th on the candidate's list for the Bayit Yehudi party and was not elected into the 19th Knesset, was shown January 18 on Channel 2's nightly newscast in a video of a 2011 speech before a Christian group speculating on the mosque located on the Temple Mount being blown up.
"Imagine today if the golden dome, I’m being recorded so I can’t say blown up, but let’s say it was blown up, right, and we laid the cornerstone of the Temple in Jerusalem," Gimpel said in the clip. "Can you imagine what would be? None of you would be here. You would be going to Israel. It would be incredible.”
Gimpel also suggested that the ADL focused its efforts on "calling for the rights and liberties of Jews on the Temple Mount."
"Although the cornerstone of democracy is freedom of religion, in our democratic Jewish State, Jews are forbidden to pray at our holiest site. We are not seeking to protest or demonstrate but merely to exercise what should be a fundamental human right, freedom of prayer," he said.JTA contributed to this report.