Hundreds Attend Funeral of 13-year-old Killed by Palestinian Stabber

Hallel Yaffa Ariel laid to rest in Kiryat Arba, after she was stabbed in her sleep; 'Whoever gives up Kiryat Arba gives up all of Israel,' Minister Bennett tells mourners.

Rena Ariel, Hallel Yaffa’s mother, at her daughter's funeral in Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.
Olivieh Fitoussi

Hundreds attended the funeral of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old girl fatally stabbed by a Palestinian assailant on Thursday morning in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. 

Rena Ariel, Hallel Yaffa’s mother said in eulogy: "Hallel, look, everyone has gathered to see you. How do you eulogize a 13-and a half-year-old girl? Your mom and dad are here. Tell me what should I say? Tell me the words you use to eulogize a flower.”

“I ask you, the Muslim Arab mother who sent her daughter to stab someone. I taught my daughter to love and you, Arab Muslims teach hatred. Take a look at yourselves. We are here, Israel is eternal. God gave us the strength to continue to settle this mountain, and the Muslims shall not win.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who attended the funeral, addressed the mourners, voicing his support for the settlement of Kiryat Arba. “The education we received doesn’t know how to understand this murder. The education of our enemies exalts it,” he said.

Relatives of Hallel Ariel at her room in Kiryat Arba, June 30, 2016.
Olivieh Fitoussi

“Our enemies think they can cut off the chain of generations. We here will win. Whoever gives up Kiryat Arba gives up all of Israel. Therefore we are here. We must not err. This war will go on for as long as our enemies don’t give up trying to get rid of us we will hold on, we will live in our land.”

“Let’s build it, in Sarona, Tel Aviv and in Hebron, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Itamar and Be’er Sheva.”

Earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the attack, and urged "enlightened nations" to do the same.

Calling the attack in the Kiryat Arba settlement "a horrifying murder of a young girl in her bed," Netanyahu said it "underscores the bloodlust and inhumanity of incitement-driven terrorists that we are facing."

In comments at the Hazerim Air-Force base, President Reuven Rivlin expressed his condolences to the girl's family. "This terror by teenagers, incited by an education of blood libels given by their leaders must be stopped. We will fight it to the bitter end, firmly and without compromise. We will uproot the terrorists and those who dispatch them. We will insist on continuing to build our lives here, without terror, with the continuing commitment to cement our national home, and strengthen Israel. There is a long and demanding road ahead," he said.

The terrorist, identified as Mohammad Tra'ayra, 19, from the Palestinian village of Bani Na'im, jumped the settlement's perimeter fence and then broke into the isolated home, stabbing 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel in her sleep. The settlement's security guards rushed to the scene, alerted by the electronic system triggered when Tra'ayra jumped the fence, and shot the assailant dead. An Israeli guard, 31, was also wounded in the attack, apparently by Tra'ayra who stabbed him before being shot.

Hallel Yaffa’s mother Rina Ariel told Channel 10 “she was a calm and happy girl and then a murderous terrorist comes to her bed I’m her mother, it is beyond me, I don’t say anything, I only ask for everyone to look at the pain. Come and console me, come and strengthen me. Come and say that our Kiryat Arba is ours and that it is still a place where you can live and not die, to continue our love for the place and the country. Hallel, may your memory be blessed.”

In the days before the attack, Tra'ayra has been praising terrorists in Facebook posts. Tra'ayra specifically praised a Palestinian woman who rammed into a car in Kiryat Arba a week ago, causing no casualties though she was shot and killed at the scene. In a Facebook post, he called her a martyr whose “name has been exalted, you’re free and Jerusalem is proud of you.”

In a separate post before the attack on Thursday, Tra’ayra wrote that “death is a right and I demand the right to die.”

Relatives and friends said his Facebook posts had changed since March when his cousin was killed after carrying out a car ramming attack near Kiryat Arba, in which an IDF soldier was lightly wounded.  

Soldiers enforcing a lockdown on the village have arrested Tra’ayra’s father.