Thursday, November 7, 2013

Support Yehuda Glick - Especially This Week

Glick on his Hunger Strike
Many of you may not have heard of Yehuda Glick. I certainly hadn't before I came Israel. Before I moved here, I hadn't heard of him. Yet, he's a leading figure in the fight for the rights of religious Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount, and serves as the Executive Director of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation.
In recent years, the issue of the rights of Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount has been gaining serious traction. Mekor Rishon, the leading Religious Zionist newspaper, dedicates an entire page of its main section to issues related to the Temple Mount, and increasing numbers of Jews, mostly religious, but some not, question why Har Habayit remains perhaps the only place in Israel where a Jew is not free to pray to God. It's a really good question.
Personally, I've never myself visited the Temple Mount. In another post, I'll dissect the issue more thorougly. Suffice to say that while many are against visiting the Temple Mount for halachic and hashkafic reasons, there are clearly opinions which permit it (and if it's permitted, then not visiting Har Habayit is troubling). Yet, even if I myself have refrained from visiting Har Habayit, that in no way diminishes my respect and support for Glick's right to do so.

If you follow Glick's Facebook feed (which I recommend following), you learn quickly that he's not a violent fellow. He believes passionately in the importance of visiting Har Habayit and of having a Jewish presence on Har Habayit, but he's careful not to violate police laws or ordinances while doing so.
Recently, the police decided to arbitrarily ban him from visiting the Temple Mount, labeling him as a security threat. The police made the decision without any due process, or, for that matter, without any formal hearing or judicial process. They get to decide, without any legal backing, who can and cannot visit the Temple Mount. Aside from the absurb religious discrimination, this represents an abuse of police power that cannot be overlooked.
When he exhausted the resources and friends who spoke out on his behalf, Glick felt compelled to protest this situation with a hunger strike, which, as of today, enters its fifth day.
This week we meet Har Habayit for the second time (the first being Akeidat Yitzchak), when Yaakov Avinu dreams his fateful dream and declares, אכן, יש אלוקים במקום הזה ואנוכי לא ידעתי - "behold, there is Godliness on this place, and I didn't know."
Now we know. Whether we visit it or not personally, Har Habayit, and not the Kotel, is the holiest site in Judaism, and we must demand our rights not only to visit the Temple Mount, but to pray there as well.
Spread this message. If you're a shul rabbi or educator, speak about this issue. Contact officials in Israel (and your local Israeli consulate in the Diaspora) and ask why Rav Glick is denied his basic civil (and for that matter, human) rights. Spread the word, so that hopefully soon Rav Glick will once again be allowed to visit Har Habayit, and will therefore do something each of us has already done each day for the past five days: Eat breakfast.