(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
A protracted legal battle barring Temple Mount activist Yehudah Glick from visiting the contested holy site for a year and a half came to a close on Thursday, when the Jerusalem District Court cleared him of wrongdoing in a purported assault against a Muslim woman.
According to Glick’s attorney, Itzhak Bam, who represented him on behalf of the Jerusalem Public Defenders Office, on August 31, 2014, the plaintiff, 67, accused Glick of pushing her to the ground while on the Temple Mount, causing her to break her arm.
The woman, who lives in Arraba, an Arab community near the Lower Galilee, filed a complaint to police that day, and Glick was charged with assault and banned from entering the site again until the case was resolved.
“We said from the beginning that it was a total lie; the same kind of lie as the blood libel,” said Bam by phone Thursday.
“And it was done because the complainant was an activist of an extreme Muslim movement, and because the police had an interest to keep Yehuda out of the Temple Mount, because they didn’t want to deal with Muslims rioting there due to his advocacy for Jewish visitation rights there.”
During cross examination in court last December, Bam said the woman denied being a member of Murabitat, a group of radical Muslim women paid by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement to harass Jews who visit the holy site.
Murabitat and its male counterpart, Murabitin, were declared illegal by the government and banned from entering the Temple Mount late last year, triggering the terrorist onslaught that has engulfed the country since October.
“I asked what she thought about Jews coming to the Temple Mount, and she claimed she just came there to pray and did not care about Jews visiting,” Bam said. “Then I asked her if she or her husband are activists in the Muslim movement, and she denied this.”
However, Bam said Glick discovered an interview the woman gave to Arab journalists two months after the alleged assault, in which she stated that “Jews are desecrating the Temple Mount” and should not be allowed there.
She added that she is in fact a member of Murabitat, and would “defend” al-Aksa Mosque from Jewish visitors.
“So we called her to court again on February 10, and asked her on cross examination the same question to explain what’s going on, and she said someone else said it, and so on,” Bam recounted. “Then she began to cry and the prosecution saw that she lied at every possible point.”
As a result, Bam said the prosecution dropped the charges and acquitted Glick Thursday morning, the same day he was supposed to take the witness stand.
“The prosecution decided not to waste any more time and dropped the case today,” he said. “Now, baruch Hashem (praise God), he can return to the Temple Mount for the first time in one and a half years.
Glick has patently denied the charge against him, contending that Muslims attacked him and his then 14-year-old son at the site, while police stood by doing nothing to protect him.
On Thursday afternoon, Glick, who was shot four times by a Palestinian assailant in October of 2014 in front of Jerusalem’s Menachem Begin Heritage Center, said he thanks God for sparing his life and dropping the false charges against him.
Asked if he would return to the Temple Mount soon, Glick was resolute.
“The answer is that I don’t have any other alternative,” he said by phone. “Hashem [God] saved my life and saved me from this long nightmare, and I think He protected me, because my mission is not over yet.”
That mission, Glick said, is to “encourage Jews to visit the Temple Mount. Therefore, that’s what I’m going to be doing in the near future,” he continued.
In terms of when, Glick said he will first coordinate security arrangements with the police to ensure his safety.