Mother of slain Israeli girl asks permission to hold memorial on Temple Mount

JERUSALEM (JTA) – The mother of Hallel Yaffa Ariel, the 13-year-old Jewish girl killed in her bed by a Palestinian teenage attacker, requested permission to have a memorial ceremony on the Temple Mount.

Rina Ariel in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asked to bring 250 people to the Temple Mount, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims and the source of much tension over the years. The group that would ascend to the Temple Mount on Tuesday would include the Ariel family and a group of friends and supporters, Ynet reported.

“We and Hallel have always felt a deep connection to the Temple Mount. We visited it and will continue to do so, as we believe that it is the house of God, and that it gives strength and life to each and every house in Israel,” Rina Ariel wrote to Netanyahu late last week, Ynet reported. “And as it is only from there that all deficits can be filled, it is only from there that we will receive any sense of solace. For this reason we are asking to perform the mitzvah of visiting the Temple Mount and praying there for the ascent of Hallel’s soul this coming Tuesday, with 250 people who have pledged to join and comfort us. It is very important to me that the event be coordinated with the police and not carried out in any manner of confrontation.”

“Just recently, 200,000 Muslims performed a mass prayer at the site. Would a Jewish group comprised of a tenth of that number not be allowed to convene there for a single hour?”

Jews can only ascend the mount during limited visiting hours and are forbidden from doing anything resembling worship such as kneeling, singing, dancing or rending their clothes.

The Jerusalem District’s police chief, Yoram Halevi, met last week with the family to organize the visit but requested the prime minister’s final approval, according to Ynet.

Hallel was stabbed to death on the morning of June 30 as she slept in her bed in the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba by a 17-year-old assailant from a nearby Palestinian village. Civilian guards shot and killed the attacker.

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