A very special gathering took place on Sunday night, commemorating a personal miracle that will go down in history as a powerful part of the prophetic return of the Jewish Temple. It requires a unique individual like Rabbi Yehudah Glick to throw a party celebrating the fourth anniversary of a vicious terrorist attack that came within a hair’s breadth of claiming his life.
In the center of Jerusalem, at the hall attached to the Great Synagogue, an eclectic group of several hundred gathered. The evening focused on Glick’s passion and life’s work: reconnecting the Jewish People to the Temple Mount.
Members of Knesset rubbed elbows with common folk, many of whom, when encouraged by Rabbi Glick to tell their stories, revealed themselves as being entirely uncommon, monoliths built of flesh and blood who have dedicated their lives to the Jewish people. One such man, an elderly gentleman who stood with the help of a cane, had been a soldier with the IDF forces that conquered the Temple Mount in 1967. Moshe Feiglin, head of the political faction Mahigut Yehudit and a witness to the assassination attempt four years ago, was in attendance. Others, like U.S. Ambassador David Friedman and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, were in virtual attendance, appearing in videos on a large screen.
The crowd, unified in their love for Israel, was entirely to be expected as like attracts like. Rabbi Glick embodies the story of the Jewish return, with all its drama, tragedy and joy. When a Sephardi singer took to the stage, Glick, a respected redheaded member of the Israeli Knesset, grabbed the microphone and began singing and dancing in precisely the same manner that King David, the archetypal Biblical redhead, once danced for the Jewish Temple.
Glick told the crowd that his day began, as it should, with a visit to the Temple Mount. He explained the significance of the visit on his Facebook page.
“As the winter session of the Knesset commences, I travel first to the Temple Mount to charge my batteries. I am reminded that everything I do in the Knesset is a mission. I need to remember always that I am only an emissary and to only sanctify his name.”
With great enthusiasm, Glick told the crowd, “This is not just a celebration of life. This is a greater celebration; this is a celebration of the Temple.”
“So many think Jerusalem is the source of conflict,” Rabbi Glick said. “Jerusalem is the source of peace for the entire world, for global love, for the entire world to come together in their love for God. The Temple Mount is where the world can be fixed.
Unfortunately, just as King David suffered for his love of Hashem, Glick has also suffered; hence the commemoration. In a region full of violence, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, a gentle and soft-spoken man with an infectious smile, earned the unlikely title of the most dangerous man in the Middle East. His mission that the Israeli police and the Palestinians considered so threatening: to bring about universal prayer on the Temple Mount. In 2009, Rabbi Glick founded Liba, an initiative for Jewish freedom and equality of human rights on the Temple Mount. He believed that one day, the Temple Mount would change from its current state of being a Muslim spiritual stronghold into its prophetic role of “a House of Prayer for All Nations.”
“I believe that the Temple Mount represents a place that has [the] potential for being an international center for religious tolerance,” he told the Forward in an interview. It was this mission that earned him the ire of the Israeli left-wing media.
Glick was harassed by the Waqf and barred by the Israeli police from visiting the site numerous times. But he persisted, suing in Israel’s high court and winning several landmark judgments, upholding the rights of Jews to pray at their holiest site. In one case, a female worker of the Waqf, paid to scream at and intimidate Jewish visitors to the site, accused Glick of assault. The charges were dropped due to an absolute lack of evidence.
Glick’s passion is easily sparked when speaking about the Temple Mount and what it means for mankind. When asked if he is an extremist, he told Breaking Israel News, “Absolutely; an extremist for human rights.”
This form of extremism proved to be especially threatening to certain Palestinian groups. On Wednesday evening, October 29, 2014, Glick gave a speech titled “Israel Returns to the Temple Mount” at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorist attacks had been on the rise and the U.S. and U.N. were siding with the Palestinians. Rabbi Glick’s cause was beginning to generate interest among Israeli politicians who had previously avoided what was called extremism in the left-wing media, despite growing support among mainstream religious Israelis. Several right-wing members of Knesset were in attendance.
After the speech, Glick left the building, accompanied by two friends. Mutaz Hijazi, a Palestinian member of Islamic Jihad from Jerusalem, approached the group while wearing a motorcycle helmet and said to Glick, “I am sorry, Yehudah, but you’re an enemy of Al-Aqsa, I have to.”
Al-Aqsa (Literally ‘the farthest mosque’) is the silver domed mosque in the southern end of the Temple Mount compound. It is considered by some to be the third holiest site in Islam.
In his usual gentle manner, Rabbi Glick asked him what he meant. The man responded by shooting Rabbi Glick four times at point-blank range. Hijazi fled on his motorcycle. A manhunt ensued and Hijazi was killed in a shootout with police.
Rabbi Glick was rushed to the hospital and while he fought for his life, his wife, Yaffa, never left his side. Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem set off fireworks in celebration and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sent a letter of condolence to Hijazi’s family.
But God had greater plans. Glick miraculously survived. In 2015, he was placed 32nd on the Likud list of candidates. Though certainly an honor, it seemed highly improbable that he would be called upon to serve. In an unexpected landslide victory, Likud won 30 seats. Glick was still on the outside but over the next year, three Likud MK’s resigned. The most unlikely series of events had brought him from death’s door to the Knesset – Israel’s parliament.