Israel Police Detain Far-right Politician Yehudah Glick for Disrupting Investigation

Former MK and Temple Mount activist is suspected of stealing documents from his police file after being arrested for visiting the holy site without prior coordination

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Yehudah Glick walking in a street in Jerusalem, November 10, 2013
Yehudah Glick walking in a street in Jerusalem, November 10, 2013Credit: Mahmoud Illean / AP
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

Former Likud MK Yehudah Glick was detained by police on Tuesday on suspicion of removing documents from his police file. Glick had been arrested earlier that day at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount for failing to coordinate his visit there with police, who said they had acted to avert any provocation at the site.

A police source said that Glick had removed material from his file in order to disrupt the investigation. Glick denies the allegations.

The former Member of Knesset was released from custody Tuesday evening with some restrictions imposed. According to his lawyer, he came back for questioning on Wednesday, after promising to return the documents he had taken with him when he left the interrogation room.

Glick, a prominent activist for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, was arrested there on Tuesday morning after conducting a tour for two U.S. congressmen.

Yehudah Glick tweets pictures of Israel Police searching his home

The compound, the historical location of the two Jewish temples, is where Al-Aqsa Mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, stands.

Police say he was detained after the tour when he began walking in areas that are off limits. They say he failed to coordinate his visit and that they had acted to avert any provocation at the sensitive site.

Temple Mount activists claim that Glick was detained for walking too slowly and refusing to obey police who asked him to move faster. That evening, when police went to his home to conduct a search, he was out. According to a police source, they waited until he returned before conducting their search.

Glick told Haaretz that he didn’t know why the police were searching his home and that nothing had been found there.

A police source said that the search came in the wake of suspicions that he had taken documents from his police file, ostensibly using them to disrupt the investigation. This was only discovered after his questioning was completed, when it was decided to obtain a search warrant in order to locate those documents.

The police say that “at the end of the investigation there were suspicions that Glick had stolen material before he left the room. The police appealed to the court in order to obtain a search warrant. Police officers went to Glick’s home and waited for his return. After the search he was detained and later released, under certain conditions.”

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan expressed his regret at what he called “a serious invasion of Glick’s privacy and rights”, but supported the judge’s decision to approve the search. Erdan tweeted that “when the investigation is over, I’ll look into the circumstances and see if this invasive act was justified.”

Arrest of Yehudah Glick by police on the Temple Mount, February 19, 2020

Transportation Minister Bezalel Smotrich expressed harsh criticism of the search in Glick’s home. He tweeted that “the police need an urgent sweeping of stables, and that judge is not worthy of continuing for one more day at his job. This vengeful persecution of Yehudah Glick is frightening. Where is [Attorney General] Mendelblit, who should be stopping this mafia-style craze and sending people home? Then people wonder and roll their eyes when trust in law enforcement plunges.”

Religious Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount must follow the instructions of the police officers accompanying them, and are not allowed to wander around the site freely. Occasionally police officers arrest Temple Mount activists who violate these rules.

In video clips of Glick filmed before his arrest, police can be seen trying to speed him up, while he is walking slowly and at the same time reading or writing on his cellphone.

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