The news that his son, Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehudah Glick, was shot outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in central Jerusalem on the night of October 29 horrified Dr. Shimon Glick, but it did not surprise him.
“He had received threats from Palestinians. He was a marked person. He had complained to the police and testified about it in Knesset committees,” the father told The Times of Israel in an interview Sunday in the lobby of Shaare Zedek Medical Center, where Yehudah is being treated for serious injuries sustained in the shooting.
Yehudah Glick, 48, has in recent years become the face of a high-profile campaign on the right to allow Jews to worship on the Temple Mount. He had just left a conference on the relationship of the Jews to the Temple Mount when an assailant shot him and fled by motorcycle.
Israeli security services reported that the suspected attacker, Mu’taz Hijazi, was killed the next morning by the police’s special anti-terror unit after he opened fire on officers as they arrived at his home in the capital’s Abu Tor neighborhood to arrest him.
Hijazi, who worked at the Begin Center, had been arrested in 2000 and served 11 years in prison. He had originally been sentenced to six years for membership in the Islamic Jihad terror organization and for participation in violent rioting. Additional time was added to his sentence after he was tried for assaulting a prison guard.
‘He is extremely giving and open-minded. He has a great sense of humor and he gets along with all different kinds of people’
The elder Glick, 82, whose own politics differ considerably from his son’s, believes the police had spent their time unjustly arresting Yehudah for his activities and framing him for acts he did not commit, instead of protecting him from would-be attackers.
“For instance, they accused him of pushing a Palestinian lady on the Temple Mount, resulting in her breaking her arm,” Glick said. “It turned out that Yehudah wasn’t even on the Temple Mount that day. He was in court on a different matter and there is proof of that. Besides, Yehudah never pushes anyone. That’s not his way,” he added.
The elder Glick, a physician specializing in endocrinology research and medical ethics who made aliya with his family from the United States in 1974 and helped found Ben Gurion University’s school of medicine, describes his son as a very peaceful person.
“He is extremely giving and open-minded. He has a great sense of humor and he gets along with all different kinds of people, including non-religious Jews and Arabs,” he said.
According to the father, Yehudah resigned from a senior post in the Immigration and Absorption Ministry when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and evacuated all Israelis from Gush Katif in 2005.
“He was really upset about that. At that point, he became the executive director of the Temple Institute,” Glick said, referring to an organization that prepares vessels and garments for use in what its members hope will be a promptly-established Third Temple on the Temple Mount.
Later, Yehudah founded the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation and focused on education and awareness-raising about the centrality of the Temple Mount to Judaism. He completed a Masters degree in Jewish studies and earned a tour guide’s license, both of which he put to use guiding tourists and Israeli visitors around the Temple Mount.
‘He just wants civil and human rights upheld. He believes anyone who wants to pray on the Temple Mount should be allowed to do so’
According to Glick, his son and the groups he guides always stay a significant distance away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque for religious reasons.
“Because of his personality, he has succeeded in making going up to the Temple Mount something not confined to the crazies, or even to religious Jews,” Glick said.
The elder Glick refuses to speculate about his son’s ultimate goals for the Temple Mount.
“He wants Jews to be able to pray at the holiest place for Jews. I know that is all he wants at the moment. I can’t comment beyond that. I can’t go into his mind,” Glick said.
“He just wants civil and human rights upheld. He believes anyone who wants to pray on the Temple Mount should be allowed to do so. He doesn’t want to kick the Muslims off the Temple Mount.”
Shimon Glick was an active leader of the now defunct Meimad political party, home to left-leaning religious Zionists. He identifies himself as “religious left-of-center,” but agrees with his “religious right-of-center” son’s views on the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount.
“I agree with the principle that Jews should not be harassed, cursed or stoned for going up to the Temple Mount,” he said. “I believe that all violence should be suppressed vigorously.”
This, however, does not mean that Glick himself is willing to exercise what he believes is his right as a Jew.
“It’s a personal decision. Four of my children go, and two of my children don’t,” he said. “There is a sign at the entrance to the Temple Mount from the chief rabbi saying that Jews should not go up, and I choose to not violate that ruling.”
According to Glick, his son sustained serious injuries to his chest, abdomen, intestines, neck and hand in the shooting attack. He remains intubated and sedated since last Wednesday night and has undergone several surgeries. He is scheduled for another operation Monday.
‘I just hope he doesn’t go into politics’
“He is progressing slowly, but he has a long way to go yet,” the father said.
Monday is Glick’s and his wife’s 59th wedding anniversary. The celebration will have to be delayed until Yehudah recovers and returns to his home in Otniel in the Hebron hills, where he also teaches at the local yeshiva.
Yehuda and his wife have six children and two foster children. They are also guardians to the six children of Tali and Yitzhak Ames, who were killed in a terrorist attack in 2010.
Knowing his son, Glick suspects he will return to his Temple Mount activism as soon as he is well enough to do so.
“I just hope he doesn’t go into politics,” his father said.