US ambassador accuses unnamed Palestinian leaders of praising deadly stabbing attack


JERUSALEM (JTA) — U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman accused unnamed Palestinian leaders of praising a terror attack that left an Israeli father of four dead.

David Friedman did not say which Palestinian leaders he was referring to in the tweet on Tuesday morning, the day after the stabbing. No members of the Palestinian Authority leadership have praised the attack. A spokesman for Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, lauded the attack as “a continuation of the resistance to Trump’s Jerusalem declaration.”

Friedman’s tweet said: “20 years ago I gave an ambulance to Har Bracha hoping it would be used to deliver healthy babies. Instead, a man from Har Bracha was just murdered by a terrorist, leaving behind a wife and four children. Palestinian ‘leaders’ have praised the killer. Praying for the BenGal family.”

Several other countries’ ambassadors to Israel also condemned the West Bank attack on Twitter.

Rabbi Itamar Ben Gal, 29, of the West Bank settlement of Har Bracha, was stabbed multiple times at a bus stop near the entrance to the Ariel settlement on Monday afternoon. He died on the way to the hospital.

The attacker, Ais Abed El-Hakim, 19, is an Israeli citizen and resident of Jaffa, the son of an Israeli mother from Haifa and a Palestinian father from Nablus. He remains at large as of Tuesday afternoon. His estranged mother called on him to turn himself in to authorities in a statement to Israeli media.

Hundreds attended Ben Gal’s funeral and burial at the Har Bracha settlement.

“Itamar, my dear, we will continue settling the land and raising our family,” his wife, Miriam, said in her eulogy. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein also eulogized the teacher and father.

Prior to taking up his ambassador position, Friedman served as president of American Friends of Bet El Institutions, which raises money for a large West Bank settlement.

Recommended from JTA