…[T]he common belief about how [Yehuda] Halevi’s life actually ended — a martyr’s tale perpetuated by the 16th-century Hebrew chronicler Gedalya Ibn Yachya — has lent additional pathos to Halevi’s almost mythic status among religious Zionists to this day. Precisely because it has long been universally accepted among traditional Jews, despite having no basis in historical sources, Ibn Yachya’s account is worth citing:
When Halevi reached the gates of Jerusalem, he tore his clothes and walked on his knees on the ground to fulfill the Scripture: ‘For your servants take pleasure in her stones and treasure her soil’ (Psalms, 102:15). He was reciting this lament he composed, ‘Zion, shall you not beseech’ (Tziyon ha-lo tish’ali) when an Arab, observing his fervor, was overcome with religious zeal against him. He then bore down on him with his horse, trampling and killing him.
That Muslims had been expelled from Jerusalem after the Crusaders’ conquest renders this tale historically impossible, part of the vast apocryphal legacy surrounding Halevi.