ACRI defends Temple Mount activist

Yehuda Glick urges rights defenders from across the ideological spectrum to unite and fight police abuses

April 15, 2010 03:00
4 minute read.
Yehuda Glick

yehuda glick 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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The police say they detained activist Yehuda Glick to prevent him from sacrificing a young goat on the eve of Pessah, but in the end Glick went free, while the unfortunate animal was apparently slaughtered on government orders.

On Wednesday, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, acting on Glick’s behalf, complained to Ronen Leibowitz, legal adviser of the Jerusalem District Police, about the incident.

According to the complaint, written by ACRI attorney Leila Margalit, Glick was stopped by police at the Jaffa Gate on March 29 as he was about to enter the Old City with two daughters and a goat.

Glick, whose organization advocates building the Third Temple on the Temple Mount on the current site of the Mosque of Omar, was on his way to conduct a mock Pessah sacrifice in the courtyard of the Hurva synagogue in the Jewish Quarter. Originally, Glick had wanted to actually slaughter and “sacrifice” a goat on the Temple Mount, but was denied permission.

On March 24, he applied for a permit to lead a procession, goat included, from the Hurva synagogue to one of the gates leading into the Temple Mount compound. The procession was meant to protest the state’s refusal to allow him to sacrifice the goat on the Mount. This request was also was turned down.

Finally, Glick and his friends in the right-wing Headquarters for Israel and The Joint Headquarters for the Temple and Temple Mount Movement, decided to hold a prayer service and mock sacrificial ceremony in the courtyard of the Hurva synagogue.

One day before the scheduled ceremony, a police officer called Glick to warn him that the police would crack down on anyone holding any kind of gathering. Glick told the officer that he and his associates would not do anything that broke the law and, therefore, would not hold the procession they had originally planned. He repeated this in an interview with Arutz 7.

Nevertheless, when he entered the Old City the following day, police handcuffed him and brought him to the Kishle police station inside Jaffa Gate, where they grilled him on whether he intended to sacrifice the goat on the Temple Mount. Glick told The Jerusalem Post they searched his car looking for the knife he allegedly intended to use.

All in all, he was held for three hours and barely made it back to his home in the settlement of Othniel for the Seder.

The police kept the goat.

“From the unfolding of the events as described above, it appears that there was no reason to detain Glick and that the detention was effectively intended to prevent him from participating in an absolutely legal gathering,” wrote ACRI attorney Leila Margalit.

“This was done even though Glick did not do anything to arouse a reasonable suspicion that he was about to disturb public order. There is no need to say that the illegal detention of a citizen whose only crime is to try to take part in a legal gathering seriously violates his basic right to freedom of expression and liberty.”

Glick told the Post he was considering suing the police for their behavior. He said they had begun picking on him last year, after he filed a petition charging them with profiling all those seeking to enter the Temple Mount and picking out religious Jews for questioning.

His connection with ACRI, which devotes much of its efforts to defending the rights of Palestinians, began several months ago, when he spoke out against police conduct in the Friday demonstrations at Sheikh Jarrah, and particularly after the arrest and 36-hour remand in custody of Hagai El-Ad, ACRI executive-director.

Glick said he was head of an organization to protect human rights on the Temple Mount and made a point of attending all Knesset discussions of human rights issues, including one on Sheikh Jarrah headed by Hadash MK Dov Hanin.

Glick explained that when the Knesset discussed human rights violations against haredim, only the haredi MKs attended. When it discussed human rights violations against Palestinians, only the Arab and left-wing MK attended. When it discussed human rights violations against the settlers, only the right-wing MKs attended.

The police exploit this divisiveness to continue with their behavior, he charged, calling on all the parties to overcome their political differences in order to more effectively confront the police.

On another occasion, Glick and ACRI attorney Tali Nir were invited to Israel Radio’s Hakol Diburim talk show and the moderator, Yaron Dekel, asked Nir if ACRI would be prepared to defend Glick. On the spot, Nir invited Glick to submit a complaint regarding the violation of his human rights.

He did so and Margalit’s letter to the police was the result.

Glick also told the Post that on Tuesday, he received a letter from the Agriculture Ministry informing him that it intended to put down the goat because it did not know anything about its background and feared it could be a health hazard.

Glick wrote back urgently that he knew exactly who the goat’s mother was and who looked after it. However, he said he was afraid the letter might have arrived too late.

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