Exclusive interview with Rabbi Yehudah Glick: ‘I’m still in shock’ over arrest on Temple Mount

‘The police are trying to turn me into a criminal,” former MK Glick said in an interview with World Israel News.

By Tsivya Fox-Dobuler

After being arrested three times within 24 hours this week along with the ransacking of his home by Jerusalem Police, Rabbi Yehudah Glick is still “in shock,” the former MK told World Israel News (WIN).

“It’s been a tough week,” Glick said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “I really and truly have no idea how the whole thing happened so suddenly. What bothers me so much is how I’ve been telling the world that things are so much quieter and more peaceful and friendlier for Jews on the Temple Mount.”

Glick, known as a “Temple Mount activist,” told WIN, “What really distresses me is within moments of the police pushing me on the floor and handcuffing me because I was ‘walking too slowly,’ the Arabs who were watching spread the video around the world through social media outlets.

“This attack on me makes them happy and looks bad for the state,” he said.

Glick, president of the Shalom Jerusalem Foundation, said he was more disturbed at the disgrace the incidents have caused to the State of Israel and the holiness of the Temple Mount than to his own honor. “It hurts me so much that the State of Israel, which is so precious to my heart, looks bad. These pictures smeared all over the world is very painful for me. I was truly hoping we had arrived to a different reality.”

“I campaign for everyone to be allowed free access and prayer on the Temple Mount,” he said. “The Temple Mount is a place where there can be no hate or violence, no arrogance, a place full of humility and humble people who respect one another. I do whatever I can to show light and love to all human beings, especially on the Temple Mount. I really hope this shouldn’t change peoples’ beliefs about my efforts.”

Glick said that former Jerusalem police chief Yoram Halevy appreciated the importance of allowing people of diverse faiths on the Temple Mount, without discrimination. Under Halevy’s leadership  Glick said, the situation on the Temple Mount “greatly improved” after years of aggression and even violence from Arabs on Judaism’s holiest site.

However, according to Glick, the situation on the Temple Mount seems to be deteriorating under the direction of Doron Yadid, the new police Deputy Commissioner.

Glick: Congressmen are witnesses

“I did nothing different this Tuesday than I have done every single Tuesday for the past 10 months, it was 100 percent the same,” he told WIN. “First, I gave a tour to a small group, which included U.S. Congressmen Jim Jordan and Mike Johnson.

“They are witnesses and even commented that the police surrounding us were rude and kept rushing us,” Glick said. “They asked why the police were being so aggressive, noting that it didn’t seem like a normal situation, as I was being friendly and polite. I said the police are told to behave that way and we shouldn’t get aggressive back, that we should use our time on the Temple Mount as positively as possible.”

According to a police statement following his arrest, Glick was detained after police confronted him when “he began to walk around the Temple Mount contrary to the customary rules of the place, which he knew from his previous visits.

“He refused to obey police instructions and accompany them while continuing to provoke them, forcing them to detain him, and after continuing to provoke them, they had to inform him he was under arrest. At this point, too, he continued to do something that forced the police to handcuff him. He was released from shackles while still on the Mount and escorted by police for questioning,” the statement said.

Police claim that Glick had made off with documents related to the investigation.

“At the conclusion of the investigation today, suspicions arose that he had stolen investigative material before leaving the interrogation room. The police approached the court which approved its request for a search warrant at his home,” the Israel Police said on Tuesday.

‘I certainly didn’t do anything provocative’

Following the tour, Glick said, he returned to the Temple Mount with a long list of names of people all over the world, Jewish and gentile, who have asked him to pray for them.

“I didn’t change a thing from what I always do. I didn’t walk slower. I was reading the list of names quietly. I certainly didn’t do anything provocative,” Glick told WIN.

In fact, he added, the police complaint was that he was “walking too slowly.” It said nothing about “praying,” something forbidden for Jews on the Temple Mount, which is under the administration of the Jordanian Waqf (Muslim Trust).

Asked about the search of his home, Glick said, “There was absolutely no need for this. The police had the missing papers in their computer and could have just printed a new set. Everything that happened had been filmed.”

The police turned his house “upside-down,” he said. “They are sure to use all this as an excuse to turn me into a criminal.”

“Israel is a wonderful, Jewish, democratic country,” Glick said. “The words of the prophets will yet be fulfilled, that all nations will be served through us. The Hebrew month of Adar,” which begins next Monday evening, “is a time for surprises and redirection. Let it be so.”

The chief of police will decide on Monday if the former MK may return to the Temple Mount or will be banned for six months.