The mother of one of two 13-year-old Israeli Arab girls who on Thursday stabbed and lightly wounded a security guard issued an impassioned apology on Friday for her daughter’s actions, praised the guard for not opening fire on the girls, and said she hoped all of Israel would soon find peace.
The woman, who works for the Ramle municipality, said she’d had no idea her daughter was planning a terror attack, and did not know where she and the other 13-year-old got the long kitchen knives they used. The two girls, 8th graders at a school in the mixed Jewish-Arab town of Ramle, approached the bus station’s entrance on Thursday morning, where the guard asked them to identify themselves. They pulled kitchen knives out of their clothing and stabbed him in the leg and hand. A soldier and an armed civilian quickly subdued them. They were detained and taken to Ramle Police headquarters for questioning, and held overnight. The guard was taken to the nearby Assaf Harofe Hospital with light injuries.
The teens told police the attack was “revenge for the situation in the Al-Aqsa Mosque,” and was in protest of Israel’s “killing of Palestinians.”
“We never thought we’d find ourselves in a situation like this,” the mother said Friday, in a Channel 2 interview in which she was not shown on screen or named. “I can’t believe it, honestly.”
The mother, who is raising six children by herself after her husband left for Gaza a few years ago, said that her daughter “told me a few weeks ago that she wanted to die,” because life was so hard and the family had no money. “I told her, ‘Don’t be depressed. Don’t take it to heart so.'”
She said her daughter never talked of hurting Jews — “heaven forbid” — and that her children had been raised to think of all Israelis as a “family” and that “there is no difference between Jews and Arabs.”
Talking of the guard who had subdued the girls without resorting to the use of his gun, she said, “May God grant him long life. I apologize to him… I’m sorry, to him, and to the mayor, and to all the people of Israel… May God grant all the people of Israel peace.”
The stabbing was the latest in a series of attacks — almost all of them carried out by Palestinians, and a handful by Israeli Arabs — that have roiled the country over the last several months, killing 31 Israelis. Several of the attackers have been young teens.
On Wednesday, three Palestinians opened fire on a group of policemen near Jerusalem’s Old City, killing Hadar Cohen, 19, and seriously wounding another policewoman.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.