Prominent U.S.-born right-wing activist Yehuda Glick was seriously wounded in a drive-by shooting Wednesday night outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
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The gunman on a motorcycle was an Arab man who intentionally targeted Glick, said MK Moshe Feiglin, who leads the far-right segment of Likud and said he witnessed the shooting.
“The attempted murderer turned to him and confirmed in Hebrew, in a heavy Arabic accent, that it was Yehuda,” Feiglin told reporters. He said Glick was in the middle of loading equipment into his car after attending a conference about the Temple Mount, held at the Begin Center.
Glick, a spokesman for Israeli groups advocating greater Jewish access to the Temple Mount, was shot by a gunman on a motorcycle who opened fire about an hour after the close of the conference.
A participant in the conference, Moria Halamish, described the shooting to Arutz 7. "They were starting to turn off the lights and close up, and Shai Malka (Feiglin's assistant) and I left the building. Shai exchanged a few words with Yehuda and then suddenly I heard him yell 'No!' and I looked and saw a gun and heard a shot. He told me 'run, you are witness to a murder.' I heard another shot and then a motorcycle passing by us. When I saw him passing again I thought he was going to shoot us Yehuda, meanwhile was bleeding. [The shooter] told him: 'Yehuda, you annoyed me.'"
Glick is being treated at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
Police did not immediately say whether they considered the shooting a terrorist attack, saying they were investigating all possibilities.
"This is a very difficult event, of the shooting of a well-known man," said Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch late on Wednesday night. "We have agreed to call in several hundreds of policeman and Border Police from the [West Bank].
The security services have recommended the full closure of the Temple Mount to everybody – Jews and Muslims – and it will indeed be closed, from tonight. I call on everyone to show responsibility, this is not the time to look for who to blame. There are many parties interested in aggravating the situation, and our aim is to calm it down I truly hope that we will get the assassin."
Glick often led groups of Jews to visit the Temple Mount and founded an organization advocating that Jews be allowed to pray there.
He regularly blasted the police and the government policy that denied Jews free access to Temple Mount.
In a conversation with Haaretz about a week ago Glick said: “Violence escalates every day and the police are simply helpless. Police performance [in this regard] is unacceptable. Bibi is tying their hands and the Jordanians are tying their hands.”
He visited the site whenever he could, usually as a group guide, every time Jews were permitted to go there.
On two occasions, when the police refused to allow him to visit Temple Mount, Glick held prolonged hunger strikes at the Western Wall plaza until the ban was lifted.
In recent years several rightist politicians heeded his requests to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.
MK Miri Regev organized 15 debates in the Knesset’s Interior Committee, which she chairs, on the Temple Mount issue in the past year.
Glick is also close to MK Moshe Feiglin and the Likud’s Jewish leadership faction, of which he is a member.
He was also pleased that in recent years more and more rabbis have revoked the halakhic ban on Jews going there.