Next on the Likud Roster: Temple Mount Activist Yehuda Glick

Glick, who survived an assassination attempt last year, was not expected to make it to Knesset, but any political hiccup in the Likud party could change that now.

Emil Salman

With Silvan Shalom stepping down as interior minister Sunday, and Amir Ohana, head of Likud's LGBT caucus, set to assume his position as a Knesset member, Temple Mount activist Rabbi Yehuda Glick is next on the Likud roster. Should any other Likud lawmaker step down or be relieved of their position, Glick will be the first to take their place.

Glick, who survived an assassination attempt in Jerusalem last year, and leads the Temple Mount Faithful group, regularly blasts Israeli lawmakers and police for denying Jews entry to Temple Mount. He has been repeatedly banned from the holy place, most recently by a Jerusalem District Court judge who called his presence there "inflammatory."

An avid Temple Mount activist, Glick advocates for Jews being able to pray on Temple Mount, Judaism's holiest place. He founded an organization, HaLiba, in 2007 that works to "reclaim free worship at the wall." Glick often led Jewish tour groups to Temple Mount, up until he was initially banned in 2014. 

Over the past year, several right wing politicians have heeded his requests to change the status quo on the Temple Mount. Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev organized 15 debates in the Knesset’s Interior Committee, which she chaired during the last government, on the Temple Mount issue. Glick is also close to former MK Moshe Feiglin, who has posted photos of the two of them on their Facebook pages, and also champions the Temple Mount cause.  

In the March 2015 elections, Glick was 34th on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right wing Likud party candidate list, meaning that 33 others would have to be appointed to the government before he had the opportunity to serve.

Glick did not expect to make it to the Knesset, as the Likud seat count was not expected to rise much above 24. Glick, who was in place 56 in the previous elections, said that he was running to "preserve my spot in the Likud and maintain my presence in the party," Haaretz reported in December of last year.

But after gaining 30 seats in the last election, and after Sunday's resignation by Shalom, if one more Likud member resigns, Glick will be a full-fledged Knesset member - a scenario Haaretz's Yossi Verter already warned about.

In addition to prime minister, Netanyahu holds the positions of minister of communications, minister of the economy, foreign ministry, minister of the regional cooperation, and now the interior minister - the position previously held by Shalom