What makes a ‘right wing activist’?

What does it take to be labeled a ‘right wing activist’? Radical ideas? Hardliner beliefs? Violence?
In the case of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, it seems a long beard and a yarmulke were enough.
On October 29th Rabbi Yehuda was shot four times by an Arab terrorist at close range in Jerusalem. He was badly wounded. The media, reporting on the (political) assassination attempt was quick to label Glick ‘a right wing activist‘. Is it fair to label Glick thus? Let’s look at the facts, and examine his actual activity.

Yehuda Glick
Photo from Yehuda Glick’s
official Facebook page.

Glick is by the way also an American citizen. Did you hear about this (political) assassination? Did the American embassy issue any sort of condemnation? Did it offer support to Glick’s family? 

Yehuda Glick advocates for the right of Jews to visit and pray on the holiest place for Jews – The Temple Mount. As the status quo currently stands Jews are allowed to visit the sacred site only a number of hours a day, excluding Fridays. Saturdays and Muslim Holidays. They, much like the tourists, can enter the Mount from one specific entrance alone, but unlike the tourists they are subjugated to meticulous security checks to make sure they’re not carrying any Judaic items. They are also strictly forbidden from praying, and are usually accompanied by a Jordanian Waqf member (a sort of Islamic policeman), who makes sure they don’t even mutter anything or appear to be praying at heart.

Let me repeat that: Jews are not allowed to pray in the holiest place for Jews in the Jewish state. Most of the time they’re not even allowed in. Furthermore, the single entrance allowed to Jews is often closed depending solely on the mood of the Arabs. (Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4)

Apartheid, anyone?

The Arabs, who also claim The Mount to be a (third most) holy place to them, on the other hand are free to enter the Mount from any entrance at any time. Entrance to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, that are located there, is barred from all non-Muslims. This discriminatory status-quo is kept in order to “keep the peace” and to “avoid provocation”. Many believe in all seriousness that this is “the most tense place in the Middle East / the entire world” and that “it can start The Third Intifada / World War III”. These absurd claims are, of course, overblown beyond belief. No serious comparative, academic study can actually compare or connect The Temple Mount, and the violence it might have “ignited”, to the rivers of blood being spilled right now in the Middle East, let alone the world. Still, Status Quos seem to be an addiction in Israel.

In the meantime Arabs destroy archaeological relics in their “holy site”, pile garbage at their “holy site”, allow kids to play soccer at their “holy site”, stockpile rocks and fireworks for violent riot and attack against Jews inside their “holy site”. 

So coming back to my original question and to Rabbi Yehuda Glick. What was he doing to deserve 4 bullets? Was he indeed a “right wing radical”? Was he indeed “provoking” the Muslims? Was he “inflaming” the entire Middle East, as all the radical Muslim Facebook pages shout, and the “liberal” media cheerfully repeats? Was he, perhaps, calling to destroy the Muslim holy sites and replace them with Jewish ones? Was he indeed “the most dangerous man in the Middle East“?

Yehuda Glick threat
A photo taken from a radical Islamic Facebook page.
Tagline says in broken Hebrew: “Death to you soon”.

Not at all. Not even close. His message is a message of peace, coexistence and unity. Just check the videos below. This has always been his message both in Hebrew and in English. Even those videos on YouTube with incitement in Arabic over them prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Yehuda is a man of peace. A Human Rights activist advocating for freedom of religion, not a “right wing activist”.
He, on the other hand, was often a victim on The Temple Mount of verbal and often physical abuse.

Rabbi Yehuda Glick. Judge for yourselves.

Furthermore, Rabbi Yehuda is as apolitical a person as one could get. He always makes it his point not to pass judgement on any politicians or any government decisions. In one of the Temple Mount conventions he arranged, that I visited (a convention much like the one after which he was shot), some of the speakers were, for example, quick to call for the resignation of the Internal Security Minister, in light of the growing violent unrest in the capital. Not so Yehuda. He publicly pronounced in the very beginning of the conference he has no criticism to pass on any politician, nor on the work of the police. Just a deep belief that All is One and a dream of a Prayer House for All Nations, a center for all monotheistic religions.

Rabbi Glick’s ideology put to practice on The Temple Mount.
Sharing a prayer with the Muslims in Arabic and later in Hebrew in good spirits.

And this is, of course, the reason he was targeted by the radical Islamists. Not because he’s a radical, but because he’s a moderate. Because he’s the epitome of moderation. And that’s scary to the Arab extremist. That is much more dangerous to the radical, militant Islam than any far-right oponent, because The Temple Mount must remain a “scary” place for the Jews. Rabbi Yehuda is bringing the Temple Mount to the mainstream consciousness of the Jewish people, where it belongs, and he does it without violence or extremism. And if that happens, if The Temple Mount will return to the mainstream of the Jewish people, the entire “indigenous Palestinian” narrative will collapse as the fallacy that it is.

As a Western, liberal, atheist, I’d like to add that I would expect my country, as a free, democratic country that it is, to equate this religious site to all other religious site, of which our tiny land has an abundance of. No reason whatsoever to treat The Temple Mount with “special needs”. Visiting hours should be, if not the same then, similar to the visiting hours of the Jewish Western Wall or the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Access should be opened to all without exception, like it is on the Jewish Western Wall or the Christian Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Finally, a site so obviously filled with history, should have archaeological works on it 24/7.

When we stop tiptoeing around problems we created ourselves, and realize those simple and calming steps, we can perhaps move forward towards real peace and coexistence.

Yehuda, still in a hospital, is luckily on his way to full recovery. A divine intervention?

On the cover image: the sad state of things at the currently Muslim administered Temple Mount.


21 thoughts on “What makes a ‘right wing activist’?

  1. I agree with you in that all people deserve the right to religious freedom and the right to practice religious freedom at the sites that they hold dear to the religion.
    I tried to look at links for your claims about the destruction of the holy site by Muslims but couldn’t access due to them being in Hebrew and the one in English was simply a letter to an institution. So I wonder about the right wing media influence on the ‘right’ side as well.

    Rabbi Glick did not deserve to die. No innocent human being deserves to be inflicted with violence. With that being said, I think how you frame this incident and honestly how the world framed this horrid murder is part of the problem. By blaming “Arabs”, “Muslims”, or “Palestinians” the media, government, and citizens in everyday life are perpetuating violence. Instead of giving an individual responsibility of an action, the responsibility is placed on an entire religion, region, or identity of a people. This is a perfect example of radicalization by the media. If I commit a crime, the media will just say “Alena” commits a crime. If my friend Mahmoud commits a crime is the “Arab Muslim” who commits a crime. It lends to an image, a stereotype, and hate to people who had nothing to do with the act. If we are going to judge a person let it be by the individual actions for being unlawful or hateful rather than the identity or background affiliation.

    1. Thank you for your comment!

      Actually I made it my point to blame the radical factions of Islam alone and not all Muslims as a whole.

      Perhaps it’s difficult to understand from an American perspective, but here in Israel we do have a religious/national war and our enemy is the radical Islam and not just “the terrorist Mahmoud”.

      And Rabbi Glick is (miraculously, if you believe those sort of things) not dead. In fact he left hospital earlier this week.

      Did you actually read my post till the end? 😉


  2. Yes I read he was alive but I mean even his murder by radicals cannot be justified.
    I thought this was in reference about the death of 5 rabbis in Jerusalem.. Is this a different event or the same event.

    I have to ask….Why is it a religious war?
    Feel free to disagree, but I ask because from my perspective this war seems to be much more about territory and governance. I believe giving it a ‘religious’ title really isn’t appropriate. Much of the fighting happens not because Israel is Jewish but rather Palestinian territory is under occupation the state of Israel.

    1. You’re talking about the recent synagogue massacre.
      The attempted assassination on Rabbi Glick is a completely different event, that took place a month ago.

      The Arab states didn’t attack Israel in 1948 because of the occupation of 1967.
      The massacre of Jews in 1936 in Yaffo didn’t happen because of the occupation of 1967.
      The massacre of Jews in 1929 in Hebron didn’t happen because of the occupation of 1967.

      The nature of the Israeli-Arab conflict goes much deeper then a mere territorial dispute. It’s a religious/ideological/cultural clash. One side (the one governed by its radical elements) will never be satisfied with a territorial compromise. That side wants to see the other side gone.

      That’s it in a nutshell.

  3. Definitely a divine intervention that Yehuda is still alive, and I have actually not heard anything in America about this incident against him. I believe it is an absolute shame that Jew’s are not allowed to visit their Holy Place in peace, and it is insane that they are unable to pray and that Muslims actually have security monitoring them so they are unable to pray. I cannot believe there are so many places that are only allowed to be accessed by Muslims, and I think that is unfair. I hope that once Yehuda recovers he will continue to spread peace and intimidate the Muslims with his violence-free beliefs.

  4. As an atheist, I myself would not call this an act of divine intervention. However, I am relieved to hear that a man such as Rabbi Yehuda Glick is out of the hospital and on his way to a full recovery. As you mentioned,I think he is a person that is needed to advocate for the right of Jews to visit and pray on the holiest place to Jews. I agree with you when you say his moderation and his ability to advocate without violence and extremism is what instills fear in radical Islamists.

    Out of my own curiosity, I wonder what kind of treatment I would receive if I were to visit the Temple Mount. I am an American citizen born to Jewish parents. Although I had a Bat’ Mitzvah and grew up recognizing Jewish traditions, I do not religiously identify myself as Jewish. I consider myself to be an atheist. I wonder if I would be treated like a tourist or if I too would be subjected to the treatment Jews experience when visiting the Temple Mount.

    1. Hi!

      If you don’t look like a religious Jew and don’t have any Judaic/Israeli symbols on you, you’d pass a a tourist.
      On a normal day that means you can enter during the 4-5 visiting hours, through the single entrance available to non-Muslims.

  5. I found this article to be stimulating and intriguing. Its has a unique focus. I remember when I was in Jerusalem and was told as an American Jew not to go to the Muslim quarter. As an American and being used to going wherever I want I found this very strange. So talk a solider into following me into the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem. I wanted to take a look and was very curious to see the difference between the two quarters. While walking around the area I felt incredibly unwelcome. Each person solider and I walked passed looked us with distrust. It was strange feeling like the outsider. I’d like to go back and see if I was wearing more appropriate attire if it would make a difference.

  6. It’s awful to hear that Rabbi Glick was wrongly accused as a violent, right wing activist, but I’m so happy to hear that he is still alive. I do agree that it is a divine intervention. It’s also sad to hear that Jew’s aren’t allowed to visit their Holy Place in peace. I can’t imagine how hard and upsetting that must be. Rabbi Glick has a true talent, for it is extremely difficult to advocate without violence.

  7. I’m surprised that there wasn’t much American-media involvement around this assassination attempt, what with Rabbi Glick being an American citizen and all. It is sad that someone with such a clear, respectable point of view can be ostracized by extremists, and I wonder if you asked the extremists, what they would say is Glick’s goal? I wonder if they would even know of understand his perspective or what he’s looking to achieve?

  8. I, as well had not heard anything of this occurrence in the United States, which is a shame. Sometimes I feel out of the loop due to the fact I don’t have cable to watch the news, but I read the newspaper just about every, maybe not as in depth as I should but I still hadn’t saw anything of this. From what I have seen since beginning to learn more about the Middle East is that Americans try to push information like this away and to pretend like the United States isn’t being affected and focusing on events occurring solely within the country. I believe that this was very unfair treatment for Rabbi Yehuda Glick and that it was divine intervention that he is still living today.

  9. I as well have not heard of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, however, his mission does not seem like a ‘right wing activist’. To me, it just seems like his mission got caught in the pre-existing conflict and distorted. I wonder if he was specifically targeted because he is American?

  10. I did hear about this, but I am surprised it wasn’t covered in more depth, especially considering the Rabbi Yehuda Glick is an American. I am glad to hear that he is recovering, but it saddens me to hear of the continuation of the seemingly endless cycle of violence in Israel. I admire Rabbi Glick’s peaceful activism, and I certainly wish that more people would take this approach. I would have to do a bit more research as to what constitues “right wing radicalism,” but from what I know of the terminology, it doesn’t seem to me that Rabbi Glick fits the description.

  11. I had no idea that this incident had taken place. It is sad to learn that Rabbi Glick was seen as a violent, right wing activist. It is so exciting to learn that he is alive and that this didn’t have any permanent, lasting damage. I think that it might be divine intervention, but I am somewhat skeptical.

  12. I think it is interesting that you make the point of Rabbi Glick being threatening towards Muslim extremists because he is, in fact, moderate in his views on religious freedom and politics. Nothing is more threatening than an intelligent person who can logically approach delicate issues such as the ones Rabbi Glick dealt with and, thankfully, will continue to deal with. American figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and John F. Kennedy are just three examples of many whom fell victim to the inability of certain people around them to do the “right thing”. I’m glad Rabbi Glick didn’t suffer the same fate as these men. It’s unfortunate that one narrow minded individual can take the lives of the worlds most influential figures. Thankfully, ideas and messages can live forever so I hope Rabbi Glick and many others continue to spread the message of religious freedom for all over in the Middle East.

  13. This is incredible, and sadly enough, strikes a similar heartstring as the violence and protests occurring in Ferguson. It is appalling to me that stereotypes are so embedded in our societies that they are being used as a justification and rational for our legal system and that the media is propelling the shallow minded ideas. This example very strongly supports the medias role in cultivating a prejudice world. However, I think this expose and others like it will be a shining light on much of the worlds wrong doings. Thank you for sharing this story and advocating for human rights.

  14. It is quiet horrifying to think of what Rabbi Glick was labeled as the most dangerous man in the Middle East just based on his political avocation, and it really is a divine right and fortunate that he is still alive. It is really unsettling to hear how he actually was trying to promote peaceful activism and I think it is really interesting you bring up the argument that he is no where near being radical, but he is actually just moderate. It’s unbelievable that someone who is actually interested in actively trying to end conflict can be faced with such reality, and also these types of situations affect others attempts in peaceful activism because after seeing what could happen, people can become less reluctant and scared to attempt anything.

  15. I pray that Rabbi Glick makes a speedy recovery and is still willing to advocate for the Jewish people to visit the Temple Mount as they please. I think it is so important that this religious site is not controlled by one religion but to be shared and given equal opportunity for all religious people. It is sad to me how quickly people resort to violence when they are being pressured to change.

  16. This man seems to hold nothing but good intentions. It is shocking to me that he would be labeled the most dangerous in the Middle East.. It is definitely not an appropriate fit for someone who is hoping for the common good of all. I don’t see how peace is going to be achieved when things like this are such common occurrences. I hope the best for him though, and I am glad to hear he is going to be okay.

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