Yehuda Glick, Humanitarian

I met Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick when a friend recommended I contact him to film a music video on the Temple Mount, a parody of Carly Simon’s hit, “Let the River Run,” in which she sings about Jerusalem. I contacted him on Facebook, and, with few questions asked, he immediately introduced me to a diverse group of secular and religious Israeli students leading the movement to liberate the Temple Mount from religious intolerance, discrimination against Jews, and antisemitism.

I met him one morning on the Temple Mount, where his only provocation was walking on the stone ground. Everywhere he went, devout Muslims followed, chanting phrases from the Koran, as if to cast an evil spell on him. They allowed him no rest, but Yehuda continued to simply…walk. Once in a while he’d open books and pictures and teach us about the historic Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. I never heard him preach hate, never violence. Here’s some footage a friend took of him when we visited.

He is a religious man, but his vision is deeply humanitarian. He knows that should the intolerant Muslims gain full control of what many Jews perceive as their holiest site, more religious segregation, destruction of Jewish archeology, and Islamic incitement would ensue on the Temple Mount and beyond. It would only embolden the type of jihadi terrorist who attempted to murder him on October 29 in a drive-by shooting. May Yehuda recover quickly from his wounds.

He risked his life to proclaim his rights and to stem the attempt of the bloody, suppressive Islamification of Jerusalem. But he also, it seems, risked his reputation. In covering the incident, media of all kinds simply referred to him as a “right-wing” or “far-right activist” when his quest is the most liberal out there: religious tolerance and freedom of worship. The only “far right” activist is the man who shot him, but he is excused for terrorism because we must allow Muslims freedom of worship, and murder is the religiously sanctioned way for Muslims to express their grievances….

When my video “Let the Jordan Run” came out on social media featuring those beautiful students, Yehuda promoted it on his Facebook page and faced criticism from some religious Jews who objected to a secular woman singing in “immodest” clothing near the site of the Holy Temple. Yehuda, with his open mind and kind soul, defended me every step of the way, allowing me the freedom I crave in Israel to express my mind and to live as a secular Jew. This is what he wants for Israel: a free country.

Meanwhile, no one in the Jewish community came out against the Islamic death threats I received for the “crime” of making such a video. It would be too “right wing” to hold Muslims and Arabs to the moral standards to which we hold all other people.

So the only label I think properly describes Yehuda Glick is: humanitarian.

Enjoy the video.

About the Author
Orit Arfa is a journalist and author of "The Settler," a novel following the journey of a young woman into Tel Aviv nightlife following her eviction from her home in Gaza in 2005. Like her heroine, Orit is a good girl gone better.