No limits to evil
Hebrew media review

No limits to evil

The brutal killing of Hallel Yaffa Ariel dominates Friday's Hebrew papers, whose reporters are shocked anew by the brutality of Palestinian terrorism

Adiv Sterman is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

The mother and a younger sister of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old Israeli girl who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist in her home, mourn during her funeral in the Kiryat Arba settlement on June 30, 2016. (AFP Photo/Gil Cohen-Magen)
The mother and a younger sister of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a 13-year-old Israeli girl who was fatally stabbed by a Palestinian terrorist in her home, mourn during her funeral in the Kiryat Arba settlement on June 30, 2016. (AFP Photo/Gil Cohen-Magen)

A heartbreaking recounting of the funeral service for Hallel Yaffa Ariel, presented upon a black background, appears on the nearly identical front pages of Israel’s two leading Hebrew-language papers, a day after the 13-year-old girl was stabbed to death by a teenage Palestinian terrorist in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba.

“Farewell, my princess,” reads the headline of both Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel Hayom, alongside the same, terrible image of Hallel’s mother and younger sister weeping as the young girl is laid to rest. Photos of Hallel from her last dance performance — which took place on the eve of her murder — are also displayed on the front pages alongside the scenes from the funeral, creating a haunting contrast.

The papers report, detail by detail, how Muhammad Nasser Tarayrah, 17, from Bani Naim, climbed into the Kiryat Arba house through a window, entered the bedroom Hallel shared with her siblings and stabbed her repeatedly. Hallel, exhausted from the dance recital the night before, was still in bed asleep when Tarayrah started his attack. When paramedics arrived, Hallel wasn’t breathing. She was pronounced dead in Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center a short while later.

Yedioth’s contributors each mourn for Hallel, and contemplate how to even comprehend the gruesome nature of the murder. “After Ruthie Fogel (who attempted to ward off the terrorists who murdered her husband and their three children until she could no longer fight), and after Na’ama Henkin (who was murdered with her husband in front of their four children), and after Dafna Meir (who was stabbed to death on the doorstep to her house in Otniel), I thought we had already experienced the height of evil and cruelty,” writes Smadar Shir. “How sad to discover that the bleeding mosaic of our lives in the land of Israel has no limits.”

Hallel (left) and Rina Ariel (courtesy Adam Propp)
Hallel (left) and Rina Ariel (courtesy Adam Propp)

The daily also reports that the head of the Samaria Local Council, Yossi Dagan, demanded that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu call for a UN Security Council meeting in light of the stabbing attack, just as the Israeli leader had done following the deadly shooting at Tel Aviv’s Sarona Market several weeks ago. Dagan’s demands highlight a growing sentiment among some Israelis, who believe Tel Aviv tends to receive special treatment from the government when it comes to terrorist attacks, while other areas are not so high on the agenda, and suffer in terms of security as a result.

In Israel Hayom, Emily Amrousi urges the international community to raise its voice and act against the terror that claimed Hallel’s life. “Cry out, world. Be in shock, land,” she writes. “A girl wrapped in her blanket forever. Blood has washed the children’s room… Do you see this picture, world?”

Haaretz leads not with the funeral, but with a photo from the scene of the terrorist attack, where Hallel’s uncle and cousin are seen consoling each other in the wake of the murder. The paper’s reporters note that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas had, as of this morning, yet to have made any statement concerning the attack.

In other news, Haaretz contributor Amos Harel quotes a senior Israeli official who assesses that Gaza-based terrorist group Hamas has opted to stall negotiations regarding returning the bodies of Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in action during the 2014 Gaza war, as well as the return of Avraham Mengistu, who has reportedly been hostage in the Strip since he entered it in September 2014. Harel also notes that the official contended that government ministers opposed to a newly signed rapprochement agreement between Israel and Turkey are in essence making it difficult for Hamas to enter talks about Shaul, Goldin and Mengistu. The official says Hamas may believe that it can exact a higher price from Israel in return for the bodies if it continues to hold out, and the public outcry in the Jewish state over the delay in negotiations grows.

Back in Yedioth, after dedicating a nearly full paper to somber news, the daily strays far from that course with a report on the apparently very significant fact that Malia Obama, daughter of US President Barack Obama, nearly had a wardrobe malfunction while exiting an airplane in Madrid. The bulk of the report is literally an explanation of a photo of the incident, where 17-year-old Malia is seen struggling to keep her dress from flying upwards following a burst of wind. But fear not, the daily exclaims, Malia’s near-mishap ended up being reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe’s famous photo, and so the incident justifies its very own news story, apparently.

The paper then segues into a minor discussion about Malia’s plans for the future, which include an internship at the US embassy in Spain, before she begins to study at Harvard, as her father did before her. Nice work, Yedioth, you really got this story covered.

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