HER smiling photos have captured the hearts of the nation. The country is this week mourning a young woman who everyone suddenly feels they knew – Hadas Malka.
The family of the 23-year-old border police officer sat shivah this week, shocked that hours before she was due to arrive home for Shabbat, she was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist by the Old City of Jerusalem. She was a victim of a joint shooting-stabbing attack, and tried to fight back before she was killed.
ISIS claimed that it perpetrated the attack which, if correct, would represent its first attack on Israel. It said that its fighters “attacked a gathering of Jews,” and warned the attack “will not be the last.” But Hamas also claimed responsibility, and Israel’s assessment is that it was neither of these groups but terrorists acting independently.
The many photographs that have surfaced of Malka have been accompanied in newspapers and on social media with accounts of her kindness, and her death has come to symbolise the tragedy of terror cutting off lives in their prime. “She was “a young happy woman with all her future ahead of her,” said Israel’s Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan in a eulogy, adding: “How much beauty and joy of life you had!”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited the shivah and told Malka’s parents: “This is the child of us all and a hero for us all.” His wife Sara said that all Israelis “are privileged to have such a heroine and a child like Hadas Malka.”
President Reuven Rivlin paid a visit to police officers serving where Malka was attacked, and urged resilience. He said: “Terrorism wants us to take actions that disrupt life in Jerusalem, and when you take risks in order to enable Jerusalem to be open to all its visitors and citizens, it is the most important thing.”
International media reporting of Palestinian attacks often generates controversy in Israel, but this time, coverage also raised eyebrows in American corridors of power.
The BBC put out a tweet and used a headline focusing on the fate of the attackers instead of the policewoman. “Three Palestinians killed after deadly stabbing in Jerusalem,” it said.
This prompted the son of the US President, Donald Trump Junior, to tweet: “You mean after they stabbed a female Israeli police officer to death … right? This is as close to being misleading as possible.”
After the Trump reaction and complaints by Israel, the BBC changed the headline and admitted that it had chosen its words badly.
“We accept that our original headline did not appropriately reflect the nature of the events and subsequently changed it,” the BBC said in a statement. “Whilst there was no intention to mislead our audiences, we regret any offence caused.”
In Palestinian media, the three terrorists killed in the attack were presented as “martyrs.” Wattan, an independent Palestinian news agency, described the killing of the terrorists during the attack as a “despicable crime” committed in “cold blood”.
Meanwhile, a Palestinian man who attempted to stab Israeli troops at a checkpoint north of Jerusalem on Tuesday was shot and killed, the Israeli army said.
The soldiers were manning the checkpoint between the Jewish settlement of Adam and the Palestinian city of Qalandiya in the central West Bank when the assailant, who has not been identified, pulled out his knife and attempted to stab them, according to the Israel Defence Forces.
The soldiers fired at the attacker, critically wounding him. He later died of his injuries.