Rabbi's Would-Be Assassin Killed by Israeli Police
JERUSALEM, Israel -- In the latest violence in the nation's capital, the top advocate for Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount was critically wounded in an assassination attempt on Wednesday evening.
Rabbi Yehuda Glick had just finished a lecture at the Begin Center in central Jerusalem as part of an event called "Israel Returns to the Temple Mount."
Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told reporters it appeared the assassination attempt was preplanned.
The assassin, a resident of the nearby Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Tor, reportedly identified Glick before shooting him at close range in the chest and fleeing on a motorcycle.
Israeli security forces tracked the suspect, Mu'taz Hijazi, a member of Islamic Jihad, to Silwan, a predominantly Arab neighborhood near the Temple Mount. Hijazi opened fire on Israeli forces, who returned fire, killing him.
Rabbi Glick is a leading advocate for more Jewish access to the Temple Mount and the right for Jews to pray there.
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City is the place where two Jewish Temples sat. The second, Herod's Temple, was destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D.
Likud Party activist MK Moshe Feiglin attended Wednesday night's event at the Begin Center.
"It's a result of the Israeli policy that does not let Jews pray on the Temple Mount, a policy that sends a signal to the Arabs that they can continue attacks," Feiglin said after the shooting.
"In many ways those Jews who want to go to the most holiest place in Judaism on earth, to the Temple Mount and pray, the answer should be the opening of the Temple Mount to the Jewish population," he said.
Only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, known in Arabic as the Noble Sanctuary. The site currently hosts the al-Aksa Mosque and the golden Dome of the Rock shrine.
Wednesday night's incident is the latest in growing violence surrounding the Temple Mount.
Israeli officials accuse Palestinian leaders of incitement to violence over access to the site. Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas recently called on Palestinians to use "all means" to prevent Jews from entering the Temple Mount.
Two weeks ago, the Palestinian Media Watch reported on the P.A. chairman's incitement.
"They [Jews] have no right to enter and desecrate [the area]," Abbas said. "We must confront them and defend our holy sites."
Earlier this week, Israel approved a visit to the Temple Mount to a P.A. delegation, led by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, who also called on the people to prevent Jews from entering the area.