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Conservative US commentator Glenn Beck hosts contentious rally in Old City of Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) ' Conservative Christian commentator Glenn Beck capped a contentious visit to Israel Wednesday by hosting a rally next to a hotly disputed holy site in Jerusalem's Old City.
Hundreds of supporters, including Israeli politicians, were on hand to hear the former Fox TV personality in the final leg of his "Restoring Courage" tour of the Holy Land. A small group of protesters held banners saying "Glenn Beck, go home."
Beck's unabashedly pro-Israel, anti-Muslim rhetoric has endeared him to some on Israel's far-right. But religious figures and left-wing politicians have come together in an unusual alliance appealing to Israelis to shun his embrace.
Religious Jews are worried he is here to spread the Christian gospel, while dovish Israelis reject Beck's support for West Bank Jewish settlements and his criticism of peace efforts.
Wednesday's rally was held next to the compound known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary.
Last month, Beck was hosted at the Israeli parliament and received several rounds of applause when he encouraged lawmakers to "stop playing the game" of mainstream media and "speak the truth" about Israel and its adversaries.
Likud lawmaker Danny Danon called Beck a true friend of Israel who reflected the strong bond between American Christians and Israel.
"We are proud of this relationship and not embarrassed by it," he said. "Anyone who supports Israel is such a brave way must be supported."