Israel News for July 1, 2016

Hebron Attack
This morning, during a routine security check at a checkpoint near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, a Palestinian woman drew a knife and attempted to stab a Border Police soldier. Another soldier shot and killed her before she could cause any harm.

The 27 year old terrorist comes from the same village as, and is related to, the terrorist who murdered a 13 year girl in her bed yesterday. That’s not just a coincidence.

For further reading click here.

Netanya Attack
A 46 year old Palestinian terrorist stabbed and wounded two Israelis yesterday on a busy street in Netanya. The victims were 62 year old Luba Godimov and a 40 year old man. Godimov underwent surgery last night and will have to miss her 33 year old daughter’s wedding today.

The terrorist was shot and killed by an armed civilian just before security forces arrived at the scene. Police arrested another Arab from Jaffa yesterday suspected of assisting the terrorist and are searching for others who might have been involved in facilitating the attack.

For further reading click here.

Hundreds of mourners attended the funeral of Hallel Ariel, the 13 year old girl murdered in her bed by a terrorist yesterday in her home in Kiryat Arba. She is survived by two younger sisters—Shira, 10, and Kanna, 4.

Hallel’s mother, Rina, said, “Thirteen-and-a-half years ago, after a lot of challenges and attempts, I had the privilege of giving birth to you. Since then, there’s been light in my life…Halleli, goodbye, sweetie. Have one last hug from mom.”

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, a cousin of Hallel’s father, said, “I stand here and tell you, Hallel, and you, the Ariel family—we vow today to build in the land of Israel even further. We always need to be building in the land of Israel, planting, settling it—and now even more so.”

Education Minister Naftali Bennet and MK Yehuda Glick also spoke at the funeral. Both Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Rivlin were at the IAF Pilot Training Course graduation ceremony in Hazerim Air-Force base and could not attend the funeral. But they both referred to Hallel in their speeches.

Netanyahu said, “We’re in Hazerim, but our hearts at in Kiryat Arba. “As we speak, Hallel Yaffa Ariel is being laid to rest in Hebron. A beautiful, innocent girl who was cruelly murdered in her bed by an abominable terrorist, filled with hate and incitement. It’s hard to see the photos of her room, covered in blood: the floor, the bed, her clothes. It’s a heart-rending sight. I tell everyone both in Israel and abroad—this is your daughter, your granddaughter. This atrocious act once again shows us who and what are we facing.”

Rivlin said, “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.”

Today, the PM and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman paid a shiva (condolence) call to the home of the Ariel’s in Kiryat Arba.

For further reading click here.

To watch a video of the mourners singing, click here.

The US State Department confirmed that Hallel Ariel was an American citizen and issued a statement condemning the murder “in the strongest possible terms.” The statement said, “This brutal act of terrorism is simply unconscionable. We extend our deepest condolences to her family. We also understand another individual who was responding to the attack was wounded by the attacker. We extend our hopes for a quick and full recovery.”

Lars Faaborg-Andersen, the head of the European Union office in Israel, tweeted: “Strongly condemn terror murder of Hallel Yaffa Ariel in Kiryat Arba this morning. No excuse for terrorism – LFA”.

Sari Bashi, the Israel and Palestine country director for Human Rights Watch, called the murder a “ghastly crime. The fact that settlements are illegal under international law does not make their inhabitants, the children as well as their parents, subject to lethal attack.”

She continued, “At the same time the killing provides no legal justification for the Israeli government to punish the alleged attacker’s family members. Destroying the home of the attacker’s relatives and canceling their work permits is an unlawful collective punishment, causing suffering for family members who committed no crime.”

For further reading click here.

Sometimes we become almost numb to the tragedies caused by terror attacks in Israel. It’s not that we don’t care, because we obviously do. But it’s easy to become detached, to read the stories of terror as spectators from a distance. We empathize with the victims and condemn the perpetrators, but we don’t necessarily feel the pain.

As I was writing today’s newsletter early this morning my 6 year old son came into my office to say hi and give me a morning hug. As he left the room, leaving me with a huge smile on my face, I thought about Rina, the mother of Hallel Ariel and the pain she must be feeling after watching her young daughter leave this world. I also thought about an innocent child lying peacefully in her bed just moments before being brutally murdered by an evil monster. Then I thought about my kids and myself. And I finally felt the pain. I was no longer a distant observer.

Then a tremendous wave of rage consumed me. How can the world remain silent and “numb” as monsters murder children in their beds? How can we remain silent and look on as detached observers? We can’t control what the world does. But we do have control over ourselves. So take a moment, think of your children, and feel.