His life's mission was breaking the status quo on the Temple Mount. Others pursued the same goal over the years, but none of them became addicted to it like Yehudah Glick.
He works as a tour guide. That's also what he claimed every time the police removed him from the Mount: They are interfering with my livelihood. But his livelihood wasn't the issue.
We met many times, if not on the Temple Mount or in the Old City of Jerusalem, then in the corridors of the Knesset, where he got right-wing MKs to support his ideas. He reiterated that he is interested in peace. All he wants is that Jews will be able to go up to the Mount and pray on it.
I argued that his actions would lead Israel to a war against the entire Muslim world. I thought he was putting us all in danger. You are playing with fire, I said to him him, and it never occurred to me that he was putting himself in danger before anyone else. His outstanding, colorful image and his daily presence on the Mount turned him into a target.
When Moshe Dayan set the regulations for the Temple Mount, religious Jews had avoided visiting it. The Jewish religious ban enabled Dayan to leave the control over the Mount in the hands of the Muslim Waqf, under the supervision and presence of the Israel Police.
Over the years, zealots from both sides tried to change the rules of the game – Sheikh Raed Salah on the one side and members of the Jewish Underground on the other side, but the rules were upheld.
In recent years, there has been a change on the Jewish side: Religious Zionists began visiting the Mount. They exempted themselves from the religious ban, and some even chose to pray there and clash over it with the Waqf people and with the police force.
Every day, Glick would send out text messages with news from the Mount: Muslims are harassing Jews; police are harassing Jews; the Mount is on fire. He and his friends convinced right-wing MKs to formulate a bill changing the regulations on the Mount. The news about the bill made headlines in the Arab world media and contributed quite a lot to the wave of violence Jerusalem has been experiencing in recent months. The claim was that Israel was planning to take over the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The attempt to assassinate Glick is another stage in the escalation. It didn't happen on the Temple Mount or in East Jerusalem, but in western Jerusalem, which has so far been overseeing the events from afar. The circumstances show that it was an intentional rather than spontaneous attack, a terror attack to all intents and purposes.
It's bad and it's alarming. Of all places in Jerusalem, the Temple Mount is the most sensitive, charged and dangerous place. It has the power of turning our national conflict into a religious war. We had better let it be: We must put out this fire, not add fuel to it.