For a newly appointed Member of Knesset, American-born Yehuda Glick (Likud) is not exactly keeping his head down in the back benches. Since before his swearing-in, Glick has been engaged in a seemingly endless monologue, over his Facebook page and through the media, about his belief system and political agenda, which—to everyone’s surprise—is much more liberal and centrist than one would have expected from a “rightwing extremist,” the tag the media had tied to his big toe.
So he started posting very mainstream, rational, even slightly left-leaning messages, including his shock at the behavior of that IDF soldier who shot and killed a terrorist who was already lying on the ground. That statement made him some favorable headlines, and soon enough he became a kind of pet-rightwinger, sharing his views on everything to the amusement of the readers everywhere.
Yehuda Glick is a serious man, despite his disheveled red hair and rumpled suits. He has been a consistent voice in favor of Jewish presence on the Temple Mount, and almost paid for it with his life when an Arab terrorist tried to assassinate him at point-blank. But he should probably be more careful when he gives interviews to, say Ha’aretz, spewing what sounds like radical observations without the benefit of historic or scholarly context. It’s difficult to overestimate the ignorance of the average Israeli leftwing reader of traditional Jewish sources, and so one probably should refrain from making the following observation:
“The Kotel is important to me just like the whole Old City is important to me,” Glick told Ha’aretz on Tuesday. “There’s no difference between the Western Wall and the eastern wall, the southern and northern walls. The Kotel is important to me because millions of Jews raise their eyes to it. But the Temple Mount is the only holy site. The Kotel doesn’t have that. It is a heaven and earth kind of difference. It’s like your parking garage is important to you, but you won’t compare your parking garage to your bedroom. So I’m not comparing the Kotel to a parking garage, but it does not have the same holiness as the Temple Mount.”
The fact is, Glick is absolutely right. The Temple Mount is where two Jewish temples have stood, while the Kotel was a supporting wall built by King Herod around the year zero, during the renovations of the Temple. As someone who shares Glick’s love for the Temple Mount, I understand his frustration when he looks down on the multitudes gathered like working ants by the Kotel, when all they have to do is walk up twenty yards and with their sheer numbers break through the police barricades, the Arab threats, everything, and stand in an earth-changing Amidah prayer where it counts.
I would venture that very few of Glick’s readers in Ha’aretz Tuesday understood that this is what he meant. Because this is what he said further on in the interview: “This is a place that causes harm, because people think it’s a holy place, and they think it’s a substitute for the Temple Mount. People come to the Kotel and feel they’ve reached the summit. It’s not a summit, it’s nothing. People are enjoying the substitute, which in my eyes is a desecration of God.”
Again, Glick is not so far from the truth, although he does step on the toes of literally millions of good Jews who have flocked to the Kotel over the centuries, and especially since 1967. And next, to the delight of the left, Glick outright condemns good Jews who pray at the Kotel:
“God said that He chose one place and people come and say, ‘that’s not true, we decided You picked a different place.’ It’s almost tantamount to the sin of the gold calf, when the whole nation said, ‘This is your god, Israel.’ It’s a huge desecration of God. … It’s almost similar to if the Zionists had gone to Uganda despite the fact that God said the Land of Israel.”
And so, in three paragraphs, MK Yehuda Glick removed his covers of a liberal democrat, protector of fallen terrorists and lover of every person, and revealed the raging fundamentalist within, unable to contain his ire at the multitudes who just won’t listen.
The fact is, Yehuda Glick is not that kind of a fundamentalist, although he is willful and persistent. He is kind and sweet, and probably the best representative the lovers of the Temple Mount have found in many years. Former MK Moshe Feiglin was also a persistent advocate for Jewish ascent to the Temple Mount, but his style is too precise and restrained to appeal to the masses the way Glick has been doing.
Glick should beware, though, of his newly acquired power, and avoid delivering to the unschooled messages they cannot truly comprehend. By telling the Ha’aretz readers that the Kotel is just like the gold calf (he said no such thing, but I’ll bet you, that’s what they took away) he did not advance the cause of Jewish redemption. Let’s hope he didn’t harm it much.