Bayit Yehudi hopeful's Temple Mt. quip sparks row

In 2011 video, Jeremy Gimpel addresses US Christian crowd, says "it would be incredible" if Dome of the Rock was "blown up."

Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel 370 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Bayit Yehudi candidate Jeremy Gimpel 370
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Tzipi Livni's Movement party said Saturday that it planned to request the disqualification of a Bayit Yehudi candidate from running in Tuesday's election after a video emerged of him speaking of the Dome of the Rock being “blown up”.
The clip, which was first uncovered by Channel 2 television, shows the 14th candidate on the Bayit Yehudi list, Atlanta native Jeremy Gimpel, addressing a group of Christian Zionists in Florida in November 2011. Gimpel states in the clip, “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. Can you imagine what would be? None of you would be here. You would be going to Israel. It would be incredible.”
Movement party MK Yoel Hasson said Saturday evening that he would ask the committee to disqualify Gimpel on the grounds that he had engaging in incitement to racism.
“The mask of the cool start-up guy has been ripped from the face of [Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali] Bennett,” Livni's party said. “The strange list that he is taking to the Knesset seeks to inflame the Middle East and to bring on a third world war with its crazy visions of building a temple.”
Gimpel said in response that the clip was taken out of context from a lecture he gave to a Christian group about the book of Ezra, a story that happened over 2,000 years ago.
“The controversy is ridiculous,” Gimpel said. “In order to make the lecture more lively I made a few jokes and you clearly hear the audience laughing. This is a cheap political attack and I would urge anyone to watch the video in its entirety and decide for yourselves.”
Hasson said that Gimpel’s attempts at excuses were neither relevant nor credible and that if someone had spoken about blowing up the Western Wall he would have attempted to have him disqualified also under the same clause in the law.
Another clip which later emerged shows Gimpel saying that the Dome of the Rock “doesn’t belong there.”
Asked about the connections of his to Messianic Christian organizations, Gimpel said: “We have a policy of staying away from Jews for Jesus groups. Our major donors are Jews. We don’t take money from Christian organizations, but we do accept money from individuals of all backgrounds.”
Bennett also defended Gimpel, saying that the video showed a Bible lesson, and was not a call to blow up the Temple Mount. Bennett expressed frustration that reports about him and his list came out on Shabbat when they could not respond.
“I’m very proud of my list and I’m proud of Jeremy Gimpel,” Bennett said.
In an interview with Channel 2, Bennett lashed out at Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for the Likud’s repeated attacks on Bayit Yehudi candidates. He said Netanyahu was doing to Bayit Yehudi what the Left had done to demonize him following the 1995 assassination of then-prime minister Yitzhak Rabin.
“Netanyahu started the most despicable campaign I’ve ever seen against religious Zionists,” Bennett said.
Netanyahu responded in his own Channel 2 interview that he had the utmost respect for religious Zionists.
“Religious Zionists are part of the national leadership thanks to Likud,” Netanyahu said.
“It’s not right to send them back to sectarian parties. Sectarian parties are not good for Israel.”
Asked about a statement from Bennett that his employment as Netanyahu’s chief of staff ended on good terms, the prime minister said, “The fact is that it ended and I won’t go beyond that.”