Last week an American-born Israeli, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, was gunned down in Jerusalem with four shots to the neck, chest and hand. Glick has for 20 years been an advocate seeking permission for Jews to pray at Temple Mount in the heart of Jerusalem, and for this he was marked for assassination. Jews are forbidden to pray at Temple Mount, their most primary holy site. Glick remains alive in hospital in Jerusalem.


I wrote about Temple Mount at The Hill last month, and I was invited to talk on Israel National Radio. I made the case that although America and Israel have been closely related in the last few decades, America and Britain are together on a very different historical trajectory from Israel and in fact an unrelated and even opposite trajectory. In Israel, a deep rabbinical tradition has awakened which has risen in the world only in the past few hundred years, while in the West the traditional inner light grows dim. "Things fall apart. The center cannot hold," wrote William Butler Yeats in 1919. Today, the secular West has little interest in these matters, and increasingly, little interest in Israel.

In my piece last week, I said that what Israel needs today is a "Gandhi figure": "Gandhi was the one indispensable figure to tell Britain that India no longer desired her determined interest, but more importantly, to convince India herself that she was not British, never could be, never would be, never should be."

Glick, a handsome man with bright red hair and beard, is an enormously attractive and sympathetic figure; earthy, wise, thoughtful, nonviolent and compassionate. He could well be that figure.

And this is what will define Israel today: Will the secular Jews in Tel Aviv look outward to New York and the expansionist, secular capitals of the West for definition, seeking acceptance at the European tables they have never been granted a chair at before and which today once again turn savagely against Israeli Jews? Or to the heart of Jerusalem and to Glick, who looks inward to the timeless center of Temple Mount, seeking only returning and rest and the quietude of God's peace?

In the last months, Jews from Israel, the United States and elsewhere have been motivated to pray at Temple Mount, possibly related to the discovery that they are not allowed to and may be arrested if they attempt to pray there. These efforts have been met by hostility, harassment and rioting. But even a visiting American Jew from Ohio or Nebraska who attempts to pray today at Temple Mount according to prescribed tradition risks not only beatings and imprisonment but could well find her picture and name on a threatening Internet list marking them as advocates for Jewish presence at the holy site, like the list that has suddenly appeared targeting Temple Mount advocates in Israel since the attempt on the life of Rabbi Glick.

And as the lone-wolf terrorist attack in Ottawa, Canada, recently proved, there are now no guarantees of safety anywhere outside of Israel, even in North America.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at