(JTA) – Yehuda Glick, an Israeli activist who wants Jews to be allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, visited the flashpoint area after an Israeli court lifted a ban on him accessing the holy site.
Temporarily barred from the Temple Mount over charges he assaulted a Palestinian woman, Glick was exonerated on Feb. 25 and visited the Jerusalem site on Tuesday morning, Agence France Press reported.
Glick was accompanied by his wife and, according to the Palestine News Network, other settlers, as well as “Israeli armed protection.”
He said the visit felt like “returning home” and had been co-ordinated with the police, according to AFP.
Glick, 50, has visited the Temple Mount frequently, leading tours there for other Jews. He leads a coalition of groups seeking greater Jewish access to the site, including one whose objectives, according to its website, include “liberating the Temple Mount from Arab (Islamic) occupation” and “removing” the Dome of the Rock and the Al Aqsa mosque from the site.
A Muslim trust, the Jordanian Waqf, administers the site, which is holy to Jews and Arabs.
According to the AFP, a spokesman for the Waqf said Glick’s “actions and statements are provocations against Palestinians. The visit bodes ill.”
The Temple Mount, the site of the Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock, has been under Israeli control since 1967, but Israeli law prohibits Jews from praying there, an activity seen as a provocation to Muslims. According to Israel’s Chief Rabbinate, it is against Jewish religious law for Jews to enter the Temple Mount.
Rumours among Palestinians that Israel intended to change this policy or allow Jews to take over the site fueled the recent surge of violence that began in October.
In October 2014, Glick, a U.S. native, was seriously wounded in an attempted assassination at the Menachem Begin Center in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman.