Right-wing lawmakers called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to act late Wednesday night, following a suspected assassination attempt in Jerusalem on the life of Rabbi Yehudah Glick, an activist with the Temple Mount Faithful which seeks to “liberate” the site from “Islamic occupation.”
Glick was shot three times outside the Jerusalem’s Begin Center following a conference about the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. Police were searching for the unidentified assailant who was wearing a helmet and was said to have fled the scene on a motorcycle. Eyewitnesses said the gunman had a clear Arabic accent and spoke briefly to Glick, telling him “you’ve made me angry,” before firing his weapon.
Police were on high alert in the city, bracing for violence and revenge attacks.
Glick remains in serious, but stable, condition at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center.
Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, from the Jewish Home party, demanded that Netanyahu return “Israeli sovereignty to Jerusalem.”
“Security is delivered through actions, not talk. An attack in the heart of Jerusalem is a red line.” he said.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), a proponent of a Jewish presence in east Jerusalem, said that the bullets fired at Glick “were aimed at all Jews who wish to pray on the Temple Mount.”
Ariel also called on Netanyahu to open the site to Jewish worshipers, as did MK Ayelet Shaked, the party’s number two.
Channel 2 reported Wednesday night following the incident that Glick had turned to police at least five times recently to complain about threats to his life. Police maintained no such complaints were received.
MK Eli Ben Dahan, also of Jewish Home, posted a Facebook status late Wednesday night, criticizing the police’s alleged inaction alongside what seems to be a screenshot of a threat made against Glick’s life. The picture shows Glick with a read X across his body and the words “death to you soon,” in bad Hebrew, written at the top.
יהודה גליק התלונן על ההסתה נגדו במשטרה. ו…..משטרת ישראל עשתה משהו…?
The writing was on the wall, said MK Miri Regev, from the Likud party, who was also at the conference Wednesday night.
“The attempted murder of Yehudah Glick is an escalation of events in Jerusalem. As long as the Israeli government fails to act against terror, against incitement and against the Islamic Movement, terrorism will lift its head not just in Jerusalem, but across the country,” Regev wrote on Facebook.
Likud MK Moshe Feiglin, who was at the event, said the incident was “terrible but quite expected.”
“Yehudah Glick was threatened all the time. The fact that permanent security was not assigned to him is a failure,” he said.
“The flaccidity of the defense mechanism and Minister for Internal Security [Yitzhak] Aharonovitch in the face of the Arab violence constantly perpetrated against Jews on the Temple Mount encourages further violence and has brought about this attempted murder,” he wrote on Facebook.
Despite the announcement by Israel Police that the Temple Mount would be closed to both Muslim and Jewish worshipers and visitors until further notice, Feiglin said he would go to the site Thursday morning, urging other to follow.
The shooting came amid weeks of rising tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem. Last week a Palestinian man drove a car into a crowded train platform located along the seam separating East and West Jerusalem, killing two. In the days following, Palestinians have clashed continuously with Israeli police in Arab neighborhoods of the capital. Israel responded to the rise in violence by increasing its police presence, deploying an additional 1,000 officers to the city.