Meet the new MK: Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick

The renowned activist hopes to turn the Temple Mount into “a world center for peace,” promote settlers’ rights and bring “light and love” to the world.

May 22, 2016 14:59
3 minute read.
Yehuda Glick

Yehuda Glick. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Most freshmen MKs, certainly in a party as large as Likud, have to work very hard on standing out amid the names. Yehuda Glick, who is scheduled to be sworn in as a new MK on Wednesday, does not have that problem, and not just because of his bright red hair and beard.

Glick, 50, a longtime activist for equal rights for Jews on the Temple Mount, where only Muslims are allowed to worship openly, became a household name after an attempt on his life in 2014 by Mutaz Hijazi, an Arab man from Jerusalem, who called Glick “an enemy of al-Aksa.”

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Glick was shot in the chest four times in 2014.

The soon-to-be MK was born in the US, and his family moved to Israel when he was eight years old and currently lives in Otniel. He is the father of eight, two of whom he fostered after their parents were killed in a terrorist attack.

Before devoting his time to Temple Mount activism, Glick was spokesman for the Immigration and Absorption Ministry when now-Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein held the portfolio.

Glick will replace Moshe Ya’alon in the Knesset. Ya’alon, the former defense minister, recently resigned from the Knesset in a political storm.

Quoting Psalms, Glick said Sunday he will “put Jerusalem above my joy” and do what he can to change the situation on the Temple Mount, though he won’t be able to visit the holy site anymore because the prime minister has banned MKs from doing so.

“Whether I can go is less relevant as whether the people of Israel can go [to the Temple Mount],” he explained.

“Yehuda Glick is not my agenda. Even if I can’t go up for the next 25 years, if it becomes a place that is friendly to human beings and more and more people go up, people who want to respect and honor the place, then we’re fine.” As for the prime minister’s ban, Glick said he is a team player and will follow the rules.

Glick said he hopes to do his part in transforming the Temple Mount into “a world center for peace instead of incitement and terrorism.”

The Temple Mount isn’t the only thing Glick plans to focus on. He was elected to the Likud list as the representative for Judea and Samaria, and said there is a lot of work to be done there, whether its infrastructure for transportation and communications or helping absorb immigrants.

“I will do whatever I can to promote the rights of settlers,” he stated.

Three days before his swearing- in, Glick said he has mixed feelings about his new position.

“I’m not in euphoria,” he said in English. “I never really dreamed of [being an MK], but I think it’s an important tool to promote the things I believe in.”

As for Zionist Union MK Yael Cohen-Paran’s plan to boycott Glick’s swearing-in because she claims he is an extremist, Glick said he mainly feels pity for people who are not willing to listen to those with different opinions, though he respects her right to boycott him.

“One of the things I want to change in public discourse is that we should know how to talk and listen to one another and respect different opinions. People who use violent reactions like boycotting or any kind of verbal violence are missing out. If she doesn’t agree with what I say, she’s welcome to listen and criticize... People who use those kinds of tactics hurt themselves more than they hurt the object of their criticism,” he said.

Glick, a rabbi, said he is praying to God to guide him and support him as he faces upcoming challenges.

“I don’t have plans to change the world. My main dream is to add a little good to the world, to promote unity among the people of Israel and not let hatred spread,” he said.

“I can’t say that I know exactly what I’ll be involved in, but my hope is that I will be able to bring good and more light to the world and love among people. If only!

“The State of Israel is one of the greatest miracles in the history of mankind. We should do everything we can to preserve it, and the best way is to listen and cooperate with each other and work together, hand in hand,” Glick asserted.

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