“I will show wonders in the heavens and on the earth, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.” (Joel 2:30–31)
After the second blood moon marked this year’s Feast of Tabernacles, Israel saw a worsening of the situation in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount with Hamas and Islamic State members attempting to control the Mount, Judaism’s most holy site.
Since the appearance of this blood moon, chaos seems to have broken loose in Jerusalem.
After weeks of clashes and the killing of two people by a Palestinian driver who drove into pedestrians at a train stop, on Wednesday, a Palestinian Arab terrorist attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick, the head of HaLiba (The Initiative for Jewish Freedom on the Temple Mount) and former director of The Temple Institute.
Glick is at the forefront of a movement to win religious freedom for Jews and non-Muslims on the Temple Mount. He is hated by Palestinians because he advocates that Jews should have the same right as Palestinians to pray there.
In the days prior to his shooting, Glick’s photo had been widely distributed and his name had become a household word among Palestinians.
Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin said that Glick had filed five police complaints connected to death threats—all of which were ignored, according to Feiglin. He is also actively pursuing equal rights for Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount, and his photos are now appearing widely on Arab social media and websites. (JP)
Jerusalem Police Chief Danino responded saying that police were not aware of any immediate threats to Glick, whose condition has improved from critical to serious.
Glick was shot in the stomach and the chest following a presentation at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.
The suspected shooter is 32-year-old Muataz Hijazi who was released from Israeli prison in 2012 after serving 10 years for his involvement in the 2002 intifada. After his release, he said in an interview, “I’m glad to be back in Jerusalem. I hope to be a thorn in the Zionist plan of Judaizing Jerusalem.” (Ynet)
Hijazi worked at the Begin Center’s Terasa restaurant, ending his shift a half hour before shooting Glick outside the Center.
On Thursday morning, the elite Border Guard counter-terrorism unit, Yamam, surrounded Hijazi’s home and killed him when they returned fire by Hijazi.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (aka Abu Mazen) sent a condolence letter to the family of Muataz Hijazi.
“While we are trying to calm the tense situation, Abu Mazen sends a condolence letter over the death of someone who tried to commit an abominable murder,” Netanyahu said.
“The time has come for the international community to condemn him for such moves,” he said.
Attacks have risen in intensity following several “calls to arms” from Abbas and other Arab leaders. There has been repeated vandalism and attacks with projectiles, including Molotov cocktails. The incitement also allegedly provoked a Hamas motorist to drive into a crowd by a Jerusalem Light Rail station two weeks ago, killing 3-month-old Chaya Braun and 22-year-old Ecuadorian native Karen Yemima Mosquera.
Victor Araujo said the death of Mosquera was felt even in Ecuador.
“Here in Ecuador we face terrible opposition,” he said. “After the Ecuadorian convert, Karen Mosquera, passed away in the terror attack in Jerusalem, even the president rejected the violence from the Palestinian terrorists. I think it allowed some people to understand how far their [Palestinian leadership] calls to violence can go.”
This past week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced remarks made by Abbas, stating at the Israeli Knesset’s opening session last Monday that Abbas has radicalized his discourse.
Abbas is “encouraging the escalation we see in Jerusalem. And against that escalation we will take action until we restore quiet,” Netanyahu said. (BIN)
After the shooting on Wednesday, tensions escalated throughout Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, prompting police to completely close the Mount on Thursday.
Danino received reinforcements for Jerusalem’s security presence last Thursday, deploying an additional 1,000 officers to defuse the chaos that has crept into the capital city in recent weeks and months. This past Thursday, after the assassination attempt on Glick, 3,000 additional officers were deployed to keep the peace.
Abbas called the closure of the Temple Mount “a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation.” (JPost)
“Jerusalem and Islamic and Christian holy sites are a redline and we won’t accept any harm to them,” he said.
Thursday saw escalated violence with crowds of rock throwers pelting police and civilians. Meanwhile, inciting ever more volatility, Abbas’ political party, Fatah, called for a day of rage on Friday.
Despite that, the Temple Mount was open on Friday.
“A strategic decision was made to close it in order to prevent any incidents or disturbances from taking place there,” said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld. “After security assessments were made Thursday afternoon, the decision was made to reopen the Temple Mount Friday morning.”
Jewish residents of Jerusalem expressed dismay at the situation, including employees of the Temple Institute, where Glick formerly served as director.
“The Israeli government’s response to the attack is criminal and yet another gift to the Muslim agitators. While they have announced that the Temple Mount will be closed to both Jews and Muslims, pictures have already emerged showing known Muslims troublemakers roaming freely on the site, while Jews are locked out,” states a formal response from the Temple Institute. “We call upon our government to enforce full entry and full Jewish prayer rights immediately.” (Yeshiva World)
As tempers continued to flare, Netanyahu called on Israeli and Palestinian officials to show restraint.
“The Temple Mount is the most sensitive kilometer on Earth,” Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday. “It is easy to start a religious fire but much more difficult to extinguish it.”
According to historical analysis by Israel HaYom’s Zalman Shoval, Israel’s agreements with Jordan after the 1967 Six Day War permitted limited autonomy to the Muslim Waqf and Islamic worshipers, as well as freedom for Jews to visit the holy mountain.
“While Israel has maintained its side of these agreements, the Palestinians have violated them almost since day one, both in their words and in their actions,” Shoval writes.
Shoval adds that the Arab infringement on Jewish rights includes the recent incitement by Abbas pushing Arabs to “defend al-Aqsa” (referring to the Temple Mount plaza), claiming the Jews’ mere presence on the Mount desecrates the area containing the Aqsa mosque.
“The use of the word ‘desecrate’ shows the racist, anti-Semitic character of his remarks,” Shoval writes.