JERUSALEM, Israel – The death of 13-year-old Israeli American Hallel Yaffa Ariel shocked the nation. A Palestinian teenager snuck into her bedroom and stabbed her to death.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed the emotion of the country.
"This morning a terrorist sneaked into the bedroom of a 13-year-old girl, Hallel Yaffa Ariel. He murdered young Hallel in cold blood. A picture of her blood-stained room is almost too hard to see. There's a teddy bear still on her bed, a red beanbag chair, some pictures on the wall, shoes tightly packed in a bin next to her bunk bed. Why would any person do this?
Netanyahu blamed incitement by the Palestinian Authority. Just three days before Ariel's murder, a senior member of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' political party told a newspaper, "everywhere you see an Israeli, cut off his head."
"You don't murder a sleeping child for peace," Netanyahu said. "You don't slit a little girl's throat to protest a policy you don't like. You do this because you've been brainwashed. You've been brainwashed by a warped ideology that teaches you that this child isn't human."
Ariel was a U.S. citizen and cousin of a senior Israeli cabinet minister.
"The reality is that this incitement by Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] speaking of poisoning wells [referring to alleged plot by Jewish settlers] has resulted in the murdering of children," Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel said. "The vengeance of the Lord is the vengeance of the Lord, but our vengeance is [continuing] to build on this land."
According to a Hebron news agency, the mother of 17-year-old Mohammed Tarayrah said, "My son is a hero. He made me proud. My son died as a martyr defending Jerusalem and [the] al-Aksa Mosque [on the Temple Mount].
Hundreds came to Ariel's funeral. Her mother, Rena, blamed Mohammed's mother. She said, "I raised my daughter with love. You taught your son to hate."