On Monday, Member of Knesset (MK) Yehudah Glick defiantly set up his office outside the entrance to the Temple Mount for a day in order to protest Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ongoing ban against MKs visiting the holy site.
“The Temple Mount is a place that is open free to everyone – Jews, Christians and Muslims. Only MKs are not allowed up on the mount,” Glick, a member of Netanyahu’s own party, the Likud, told Breaking Israel News. “It is against the law – illegal and absurd.”
Netanyahu instated the ban nearly two years ago during a rise in deadly violence and terror around the country in an attempt to avoid “provocations” and to de-escalate tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and the Old City.
Since then, Glick said, the prime minister promised several times to cancel his mandate against MKs going up on the mount – after Passover, after Ramadan and then again at the end of July. But each time, Netanyahu extended the mandate instead.
“Enough is enough,” Glick said with a closed fist. “I am not going to go through another series of holidays not being able to go on the Temple Mount. The time has come to change this decision.”
Glick, a leading advocate for equal right to prayer on the Mount (currently, only Muslims are permitted to pray), temporarily moved his office to the gate through which Jewish paratroopers famously entered in 1967 to reclaim the Mount. It is the site where the Lt. Gen Motta Gur uttered the iconic statement, “The Temple Mount is in our hands.”
“Going up on the Temple Mount is important for every Jew. It is the only place in the world that a Jew is obligated to go to, it is the place upon which the Divine presence rests,” declared Glick.
He believes the ban also carries an important message which weakens Israel’s position in Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s move to forbid MKs to go up on the Mount indicates that the Temple Mount is not “truly” under Israeli sovereignty, he explained to Breaking Israel News.
He added that the Knesset symbolizes Israeli sovereignty more than anything else.
“I cannot tolerate [the situation] anymore,” said Glick. “It is quite absurd.”
The MK said today’s protest is a first in a series of acts he plans to hold to push the prime minister to decide in his favor. Though he would not reveal his next steps, Glick said he and his followers would not stop until the issue rises to the top of the prime minister’s agenda and, ultimately, is reversed.
Glick’s decision to make a stand at the Temple Mount has a personal element as well. His wife Yaffa, who in years past joined him in his crusade for Jewish rights on the Mount, recently suffered a serious stroke, and is currently being cared for in a long-term nursing facility in Jerusalem. The lawmaker shared that during this personal crisis, the Temple Mount is the only place he would like to go to pour out his heart.