(photo credit: TAZPIT)
The brother of right-wing activist Yehudah Glick, who was the target of an assassination attempt last week, said Tuesday that the US Embassy had waited a week to reach out to the family, and had done so only after the family took the initiative.
Glick was shot four times in front of the capital’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center Wednesday night, allegedly by Islamic Jihad operative Moataz Hejazi. Police killed Hejazi hours later after he allegedly fired on officers from his Abu Tor home in east Jerusalem.
“On Wednesday, the 29th of October, Yehudah Glick, a US citizen, was shot in Jerusalem,” said his brother, Dr. Yitzhak Glick. “Six days later, the family was shocked and dismayed that five days had elapsed and we had not heard directly from the US ambassador or US Consulate.”
He said the discouraged family had then initiated contact on Tuesday, and finally received a response from US Ambassador Dan Shapiro.
Shapiro, meanwhile, stated on Twitter Tuesday morning that the “US Consulate-General in Jerusalem made several attempts to contact Mr. Glick’s family, and today were able to make contact.”
He cited the US’s Privacy Act as “preventing the US from discussing details regarding American citizens without their express permission,” but said the embassy was now “ready to provide consular assistance to Mr. Glick or his family.”
“We have no higher priority than the protection of US citizens overseas,” he said.
Later in the day, State Department spokesman Edgar Vasquez issued a statement noting that US Secretary of State John Kerry had condemned the attack shortly after it had occurred, adding that the secretary’s “thoughts and prayers are with the family.”
Vasquez said the State Department was in touch with Israeli authorities as it “seeks more information,” and that its spokeswoman Jen Psaki also condemned the attack.
“We take [our] obligation to assist US citizens abroad seriously and stand ready to provide all possible consular services,” he said. “To this end, the US Consulate-General in Jerusalem made several attempts to contact Mr. Glick’s family and only today [Tuesday], were able to make contact with one family member.”
Still, noting that his father, Prof. Shimon Glick, had served as a captain in the US Army and as a federal employee in both the US’s National Institutes of Health and Department of Veterans Affairs, Yitzhak Glick made clear that the family felt the response was long overdue.
“My father is one of only five Americans residing in Israel to be appointed to the US National Academy of Science,” he said, but there was “no outrage, no wishes of speedy recovery, not a single word from any US official for one week.”
Moreover, he said he and his family were particularly appalled at the contrast in the US’s concern for his brother and its concern for the Palestinian-American teenager whom police shot dead on October 25 as he was throwing a fire bomb at them during a West Bank riot.
“This is in total contrast to the teenager that attacked police with a Molotov cocktail, and the State Department demanding a transparent investigation – not to mention [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud] Abbas’s letter of support to the terrorist shooter [Hejazi],” he said.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Yitzhak Glick, an emergency medicine specialist, said his brother had “undergone several major procedures and is still in critical condition, but gradually improving.”
In response to international media coverage depicting his brother as a right-wing radical, Glick said nothing could be further from the truth.
While acknowledging that Yehudah’s work to legalize Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount was inherently controversial, Glick described his brother as a humanitarian.
“Contrary to what’s being reported in the international media, Yehudah is an outspoken peace and human rights activist, and a very strong supporter of interfaith dialogue,” he said.
Yitzhak Glick would not comment on police claims that its forces had received no report of threats against his brother’s life, despite the Monday emergence of a June audio recording between Yehudah and a police official suggesting otherwise.Lahav Harkov contributed to this report.