“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” (Psalms 95:1-2)
On Sunday night at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem, Rabbi Yehudah Glick, noted Temple Mount rights advocate, hosted a large event to celebrate one year of miraculous survival and healing since a terrorist attempted to kill him last year at the same location.
Glick, the founder of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation, has been called the “Most Dangerous Man in the Middle East” for his work to expand access to the Temple Mount and encourage Jewish visitors to the site, which is the holiest in Judaism. He was shot four times last October following a Temple Mount event at the Begin Center at point-blank range by a Palestinian terrorist who called him an “enemy of Al-Aqsa”, the Arabic name for the Temple Mount.
Incredibly, he survived the attack, though the road to healing was a long one. He has resumed his work with extra vigor, asserting that the attack and his subsequent survival was a sign from God that his work on behalf of Temple Mount rights was not complete.
In honor of his recovery, Glick organized an event, sponsored by Breaking Israel News, at the very place where his life was endangered. “Survival and Celebration” included speeches, refreshments, music and dancing, presentation of the “Callers of Zion” award, multiple screenings of the movie “A Hug From Heaven” about the attack on Glick’s life and his recovery, and a live broadcast in English hosted by American preacher Pastor Keith Johnson, head of the Biblical Foundations Academy and close friend of Glick.
Several notable officials spoke at the event, including members of Knesset. Speaker of Knesset Yuli Edelstein was unable to appear in person and sent a recorded video message. Professor Jonathan Halevy, Director-General of Shaare Tzedek Hospital, where Glick was brought for treatment, also spoke, saying in his speech, “Statistically, Yehudah had no chance to live.” Glick received a standing ovation when he spoke to the audience about his survival and the need to thank God.
The mood of the evening was undeniably joyous. In between speeches and screenings of “A Hug From Heaven”, Glick danced and celebrated with dozens of friends and supporters to a live band playing Jewish and Israeli music. At one point, he was hoisted onto a friend’s shoulders to wave a large Israeli flag. His extended family also joined in the festivities.
Present at the event were Glick supporters from all over the country and even the world, including a number of Christians from America and Europe. Several other Temple Mount rights organizations were represented as well.
Yael Kabilio, Chair of the women’s organization Women for the Beit Mikdash, told Breaking Israel News that Glick was one of the very first people to emphasize the importance of ascending to the Temple Mount. In previous years, before the Temple Mount became as important an issue as it is today, “Yehudah was the only guy who would come up, and you’d see him and his red hair up there,” she said, explaining that very few Jews used to ascend. “Now, it’s becoming something.”
Glick credits his fame and notoriety to his status as a representative of Jewish legitimacy in Israel. “I symbolize the connection of the nation of Israel to Jerusalem,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “That is why I was targeted.” Indeed, Glick’s symbolic survival, as was made clear in speeches and presentations throughout the evening, was somewhat of a catalyst for the growing movement of Jews and Christians ascending to the Mount.
The interfaith element of Glick’s work was highlighted by the attendance and participation of many Christian supporters, including “Jerusalem Jane”, or Jane Kiel, who came from Denmark to “spread the truth” about the Temple Mount. Her work was honored at the event when she received a “Caller of Zion” award.
“As a believing Christian, I couldn’t stand by silently about what is happening on the Temple Mount,” she told Breaking Israel News. “I left everything behind in Denmark to spread the truth. I am honored to know Yehudah, who works to spread this message.”
Pastor Keith Johnson, a pro-Israel American pastor who has worked closely with Glick, echoed the sentiment, sharing with Breaking Israel News, “Yehudah represents to me interfaith respect, peace and love. It breaks my heart that people hear the wrong message about Yehudah, this man of peace.”
Despite the violence and anger surrounding the Temple Mount issue, Glick’s message holds diverse appeal. Mendi Safadi, a longtime friend of Glick’s who is Druze, stated to Breaking Israel News, “As a Druze, I believe in the truth of the Jewish nation’s connection to the Temple Mount. I met Yehudah as a Knesset member about four years ago. The first time that I met him and we talked about the Temple Mount, it was clear to me that he was speaking from his heart. Now, wherever I go, I speak about the Jewish connection to the Temple Mount.”
Glick himself emphasized the need for coexistence between Jews and Arabs, using an example from his own experience to illustrate its importance. “The Arab population today has been taken hostage by extremists,” he said in his speech. “My doctor was an Arab. He saved my life. That is the needed leadership for coexistence.”
The event made clear that Glick’s work is far from over, but despite the current violence, personal danger to himself and the opposition of many governmental and global bodies, he will continue to champion the Jewish right to ascend to the holy Temple Mount.