Living in Israel this year is very centering, as in helping me feel centered, ground, rooted – look at the words that apply! – in my connection to Israel.
It also makes me even more frustrated with Jews everywhere for continuing to sacrifice Jewish rights and refuse their obligations on the alter of appearing to be the “better” person, the more “reasonable” partner, the one willing to give up and away rather than even quietly insist on having that to which we are entitled.
An example of my increased connection: Israel’s Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, spoke to the nation on the evening of Nov. 10, the day of multiple terror attacks which included two stabbing deaths, one in Tel Aviv and one down the road from where I live. I listened to his address, seeking comfort and protection, not for news, but because I am living here.
And on the other hand, the very sad and shriveling other hand, it is also disconcerting living here.
Here’s an example: a dear friend who lives in Jerusalem called me the night of the stabbing attacks. She was calling to check in, to see if I was okay, because she knew one of the attacks took place nearby. (She wasn’t the only one who called to check – now I’m the one receiving, instead of making, those phone calls.)
As we spoke, I mentioned that I had just been to an event at the Begin Center. I told her I was astonished that there was absolutely no visible security for the event – the front door was wide open and no one checked me or the people with whom I entered, or any of our bags.
My stomach twisted at her response.
“Well, you aren’t advocating building the Third Temple and throwing the Arabs off the Temple Mount.”
This was spoken very matter of factly to me by a woman who made Aliyah with her family, including quite a few children, about eight years ago.
It is not easy living here. Her life and that of her family would have been much more comfortable in the U.S. They left behind all of their extended family, and made this their home.
And yet, my friend said and believes that Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the Jewish rights advocate who was shot on Oct. 29 at point blank range four times as he left a meeting at the Begin Center, was somehow at fault.
Let’s make this perfectly clear for anyone reading this: Glick is a man of peace who simply advocates – yes, forcefully and with conviction – that Jews AS WELL AS MUSLIMS have the right to pray on the Temple Mount.
There. Now you know it, so if you hear people say otherwise, the obligation is on you to correct them. Of course you’ll need proof. Here it is:
For a helpful explanation of who Glick is and why what he wants is sensible, not extreme or outrageous, Rabbi Meir Soloveichik provides a useful and succinct explanation.
So why do people believe the opposite? Why is Yehuda Glick, in the eyes of so many, a symbol of Jewish “extremism” and presented as an obstinate man of moral superiority?
A huge part of the answer to that is the way in which he was described in virtually every news story about the attack on him. He was referred to as a “far right activist,” (Reuters and Aol News). Even the centrist to center right papers in Israel referred to Glick as a “right wing activist” (YNET and the Jerusalem Post), in their headlines on the story.