Hallel Ariel's mom mourns daughter killed in Kiryat Arba, West Bank, attack

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Mother Weeps at Funeral for American Teen Stabbed in West Bank

The mother of an Israeli-American teen stabbed to death in her West Bank bedroom has spoken out, denouncing the "hate" that claimed her young daughter's life.

Hallel Ariel, 13, had just finished the school year and was on her summer vacation when a Palestinian teenager killed her as she slept. The U.S. has joined Israeli officials decrying the "outrageous terrorist attack."

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Through tears, the girl's mother said Hallel was "so excited about dancing" and had her "entire future in front of her."

"She was a beautiful, vibrant, and amazing girl," Rina Ariel told Israel's Army Radio. "Her whole future was open."

Ariel said she was "lucky" that Hallel's sisters had not been sleeping in the same room when the attacker crept into their home in Kiryat Arba.

She told the radio station that her family typically keeps the windows closed "since we are afraid" but had left one open Thursday morning to give Hallel fresh air.

Kiryat Arba is a hard-line Jewish settlement of about 7,000 residents not far from the West Bank city of Hebron.

Ariel said action must be taken to save other mothers from having to "wake up to this reality."

See social reaction to Hallel Ariel's murder:

Social reactions to Hallel Ariel death
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Social reactions to Hallel Ariel death
Horrified by the savage murder of an Israeli-American, Hallel Yaffa Ariel, in the #WestBank yesterday. We pray for her friends and family.
Hallel Yaffa Ariel, 13 May her memory be a blessing https://t.co/DcfSwFjehh
Heartbroken by the heinous terrorist murder of 13-year-old Hallel Ariel. No child should be in danger in her home. https://t.co/xpN5J7871S
Another horrific attack by #palestinian terrorist.The incitement must stop.My prayers are w/Hallel Yaffe Ariel's family & all of #Israel- MR
As I sit near wife waiting for her chemo, I am overcome with grief over news 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel succumbed to her wounds
Her name: Hallel Yaffa Ariel. Yesterday she was dancing at the last day of school.
Murdering a 13 year old girl in her sleep b/c she's Jewish is a horrific act of terror & hate. Prayers are w/ Hallel Ariel's family & Israel
@Cameron_Gray I'm praying for her and her family, her death was sick and senseless

"The terrorist had an easy job of jumping over the fence and entered our house," Ariel said. "We must build a better barrier."

"We don't have to live like this, we can change this reality," she added.

Since last September, 33 Israelis and two American tourists have been killed by Palestinians in a wave of attacks. Some 200 Palestinians have been killed during that time, according to an AP tally, most of whom Israel has said were assailants. Others died in clashes and protests.

While the attacks were at one point a daily occurrence, they had slowed in recent months. However, a deadly gun attack earlier this month in a Tel Aviv shopping mall ratcheted up fears and put Israel on edge.

The murder of Hallel — and her age — has triggered an outpouring of shock and anger. Images of her bloodstained bedroom showed the teen's teddy bear still perched on the bed.

"What causes someone to slit the throat of a child?" asked Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday. "It is not the desire for peace but it is a brain flooded with hatred and incitement and ideology that says this child is not a human being."

Netanyahu — who Friday visited the Ariel home to pay his condolences — has urged world leaders to condemn the attack.

There has been no comment from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas about the incident. Israeli officials have criticized him for not being sufficiently critical of such attacks and also have accused him of inciting violence.

A striking characteristic of the spate of violence has been not the ages of the victims, but the attackers. Many have been youth — including Hallel's killer, 17-year-old Muhammad Tarayreh.

His uncle, Rajeh Tarayreh, told The Associated Press that the family was hosting a celebration that's a tradition for every "martyr" killed by Israel — including accepting visitors offering congratulations.

"He did something he was totally convinced of," he said of his nephew. "Yes, he might have killed a small girl, but Palestinian kids are being killed too."

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