“I’m not in hospital because I have appendicitis, I’m not here because they shot me for being ginger,” the red-headed advocate for Jewish prayer quipped to the Chief Rabbi.
“I’m here because someone thought he could ‘defy the armies of God’,” he said, paraphrasing the words uttered by King David – another red-headed Jewish leader – to the Philistine general Goliath, who had just previously been mocking the Israelite forces.
Glick recounted to Rabbi Lau the terrifying moment he was shot by Mu’taz Hijazi, an Islamic Jihad terrorist who had in fact been employed at a restaurant in the same building where Glick had been giving a speech just minutes before.
“He approached me, stood opposite me, and of course I naively trusted him,” he recalled.
“He said to me: ‘I’m terribly sorry, but you are an enemy of Al Aqsa,’ and then he shot – boom boom… and then I saw someone, Shai [Shai Malka, CEO of the Likud party MK Moshe Feiglin’s Jewish Leadership faction – ed.], and he said to me ‘Yehuda, we need you here, come!’ so we ran…”
Glick had been shot four times in the chest, and was taken to hospital in critical condition. His would-be assassin was shot dead hours later during a police raid at his home.
The veteran activist also told of the intensive treatment he has been receiving since the shooting – which has seen him make a remarkable recovery.
Rabbi Lau related to him how the entire Chief Rabbinate had been praying for his recovery and has closely followed every development since the assassination attempt. “Even after a week we did not stop praying,” he said.
Concerning the Temple Mount itself, the Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi – who opposes visits to the Mount due to issues of ritual purity – struck a sympathetic note.
“I have not yet succeeded in finding the right place to say that at this moment I am able to go up. But I pray together with you that with the help of God the two of us will stand there to give thanks.”
“Remember, we will stand together to give a thanksgiving offering (in the Temple),” he added.
Rabbinic opinion is divided over whether anyone (Jews or non-Jews) are allowed to step foot on the Temple Mount according to Jewish law. Some, including the Chief Rabbis, oppose it, whereas others actively encourage it.
Glick said that he had received countless requests from prominent figures to visit him, but that at this time it was extremely difficult for him to receive visitors and so he had specifically asked that the first one should be the Israeli Chief Rabbi.
“Our answer is the fact that the nation of Israel is here despite everything, and our eyes hope and yearn for Zion,” he said.