JERUSALEM — Yehuda Glick — the Temple Mount activist who was shot four times pointblank by a Palestinian in an assassination attempt in 2014 — has thrown his hat into the ring to be president of Israel.
The former Knesset member would certainly make a colorful, if not controversial figure, as president of the Jewish state.
In an exclusive interview with ALL ISRAEL NEWS, Glick told me that he simply wants equal treatment on the Temple Mount — the “holiest place in the world” — where currently only Muslims are allowed to pray or read a prayer book.
Glick has been challenging the status quo on the Temple Mount for two decades and has been leading regular tours there. In the past decade, the number of non-Muslims visiting the site rose from 180,000 in 2014 to 800,000 in 2019.
Since Israel recaptured the Temple Mount in the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel has been responsible for security, but not religious priorities within the compound which fall under the Waqf, Muslim custodians based in Jordan.
“This is something we are definitely trying to change,” he said.
Glick has been arrested multiple times for violations at the compound, which is also the site of Al Aqsa mosque.
Now, more than ever he senses an urgency for change.
With "a new horizon in the Middle East, when we see Israel making peace with the United Arab Emirates as an opening to the Arab world and we are talking about turning the Temple Mount into allowing (Muslims) to come from all over the world to pray ... why should people who are non-Muslim not be included? The Temple Mount is holy for Jews. It’s holy for Christians.”
The former Likud lawmaker is president of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation which aims to make the Temple Mount “a place of inclusiveness, of respecting one another, of respecting the differences of another and allowing people to pray in their way to the one and only God.”
He also makes frequent appearances at Evangelical events and calls himself a bridge-builder between people of all different beliefs.
When President Reuven Rivlin’s term ends in July 2021, the Knesset will choose a new candidate for president. Though the position is largely a figurehead, the president sets a national tone and is also tasked with choosing which party is best suited to form a government after an election. Former leader of the Labor party, Jewish Agency chairman Isaac Herzog, is also running.
In this interview, we also talked about the building of the Third Temple and possibly allowing sacrifices on the site.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.