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  • Michael Dickson

The 17 Year Old Terrorist

Originally published in The Times of Israel

In a normal society, the fact that the terrorist who perpetrated a frenzied stabbing attack was only 17 would be shocking. Climbing over a fence protecting the Israeli community of Adam, a teenage jihadi named Mohammad Tareq Yousef plunged his knife into multiple victims, leaving behind a bloody trail before one of those injured managed to stop and kill him. His brutal attack left a beautiful young family fatherless. But in Palestinian society, a teenage terrorist is not something that is especially shocking. On the contrary, extremism is deliberately saturated into Palestinian Authority education, popular culture and media. While kids in most countries dream of becoming famous sports personalities, music stars, or YouTubers, young Palestinians are indoctrinated to aspire to become “martyrs.”

A family left fatherless: A Palestinian 17-year-old went on a stabbing rampage injuring Israelis and murdering 31-year-old Yotam Ovadia, father of a 2 year-old and a 17-month-old baby.

It brings to mind the murder of Eden Attias, an Israeli 19-year-old young man, murdered by a 16-year-old Palestinian. Standing behind Eden’s teenage murderer who, seeing his victim sleeping on the bus they both rode on, stabbed him repeatedly, was the apparatus of the Palestinian Authority. From cradle to grave, indoctrination against Israelis and Jews is centrally institutionalized by the Palestinian leadership. The propaganda spans genres, from formal education to media and the internet, from official speeches, to provisions for youth to sports and cultural activities.

Eden Atias,19, who was sleeping on an Israeli bus when his 16-year-old Palestinian murderer attacked him.

Here is just a short overview of how Palestinians are living in an institutionalized culture of hate:


A Palestinian can be born into this world at the “Alshaheed (Martyr) Thabet Thabet” hospital in Tulkarm, a hospital named for the leader of the violent Palestinian Tanzim group. Conversely, Israeli hospitals are quick to treat Palestinian patients, including at times of conflict. Official Palestinian Authority newspapers often cover wild accusations of Israelis who allegedly harvest organs or conduct medical experiments on Palestinians — claims aimed to dehumanize Israel and Israelis. Indeed, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas was recently pictured — while in hospital — with a newspaper featuring one such gross image which would not have seemed out of place in Der Sturmer:


There are a large number of terrorism-lionizing schools in Gaza and under the Palestinian Authority’s control. Dalal Mughrabi was behind the infamous 1978 bus bombing in which 37 Israelis, 10 of them children, were murdered. There is a Dalal Mughrabi school in Gaza, a Dalal Mughrabi High School in Hebron and a Dalal Mughrabi kindergarten in Hebron. What should we assume that students at these supposedly-educational institutions learn about their school’s namesake?

Since Israel-inciting hatred in official Palestinian textbooks has been well-documented (you can read a report on them here), we can only assume that the terrorist was force-fed pride in terrorism as part of this educational school diet. And once high school is over, radicalization continues apace at Palestinian universities, where, like in the allegedly-moderate Al Quds University, radical anti-Israel rallies are held. One of Al Quds founding trustees is Saeb Erekat, the supposed “peace negotiator”, known for his extreme rhetoric when demonizing Israel.


The latest Palestinian teenage terrorist would have been around 5 or 6 when Hamas TV used Mickey Mouse to radicalize children. That’s the same age as the girl in this TV program “Tomorrow’s Pioneers,” who preaches Palestinian supremacy while “Mickey” gestures shooting an AK-47.

Ultimately this fake Mickey Mouse was beaten and killed by “the filthy Jews” in a later episode of this hate-filled children’s TV series.

And in this kids show, produced by the Palestinian Authority, kids are told that Jews are “our enemies”, not to take candy from them because it is likely poisoned and that little children should want to ultimately kill Israelis and become martyrs. There are innumerable examples of such programs. When you dehumanize others this way, it makes it much easier to condition someone to kill them.

The Arts

PA President Mahmoud Abbas also invests in the arts. Indeed, he donated $6,000 to the Dalal Group for Popular Arts, a dance troupe. But when those performers are dancing, they are doing so in the name of the aforementioned Dalal Mughrabi, a ‘hero terrorist’, who has been glorified by the Palestinian Authority.

Indeed, music is a key tool for spreading the PA’s anti-Israel message. In the past, the PA Ministry of Culture sponsored an art conference focusing on “Palestinian Folklore and Arts, Palestine in Musical Memory,” which glorified violence against Israelis though music.


Sports can bring people together, something that the Peres Center for Peace has worked hard  to do, staging matches between young Israelis and Palestinians. But Palestinian leaders don’t just resist this attempt to set up friendly matches, they use sports to indoctrinate young Palestinians with dangerous hate against Jews and Israelis. Even Palestinian football teams have been named after terrorists and countless sports tournaments and championships have been named in memory of killers.

These examples are the tip of the iceberg. State-funded anti-Israel, anti-Jewish and anti-Western propaganda is, unfortunately, nothing new in the Middle East. Although I have focused on how the Palestinian leadership is poisoning hearts and minds daily, we unfortunately see the same tools and messages used in many parts of the Arab and Muslim world, as well as Iran. This incitement is taking place not just under the radical leadership of Hamas, but also in the Palestinian Authority, under the leadership of President Abbas who has been touted by some as a legitimate peace partner for Israel. All countries that provide finances to the Palestinian Authority should be demanding: Enough! No more funding until this toxic, dangerous form of education stops.

I distinctly remember my children watching a feature on the Israeli version of Sesame Street about Egypt. The narrator spoke in glowing terms about the country, its history, and its people. At my son’s school graduation, the kids waved flags of Arab countries and they sang in Hebrew: “Here comes peace!” Peace will come when Arab countries screen a similar kids TV show about Israel and when somewhere else in the Middle East, they wave an Israeli flag at their school graduation and see the same song, but in Arabic.

Jews are understandably sensitive to anti-Semitic propaganda because we know where it can and will lead. The Nazi dictatorship had 12 years to institutionalize anti-Semitism into the fabric of life in Germany. The Palestinian leadership has had decades. We should not be surprised that the result is radical, murderous individuals, even teenagers, who enact what they have been taught to do. But we should be surprised, and shocked, when this occurs at the behest of those with whom Israelis are told to make peace.

Reviewing the Palestinian record of incitement, Golda Meir’s famous quote that “peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us” has never rung as true as it does today.  If we look upon these sentiments and acts of incitement as excusable, we are infantalizing the Palestinians and we are the fools. It is a moral imperative for us not to look at American and Israeli flags being burned on the streets of Tehran or Gaza, or kids shows being used to incite hatred and just shrug and say “well, that’s just how they are.” We must call out the duplicity of Palestinian and other Arab leaders who say one thing to the Western world in English and quite another in Arabic that promotes violence and terrorism. We must finally reject the wholesale, rotten, purveyance of hate that permeates Palestinian society.

We already know where this leads. It leads to young Palestinians strapping bombs onto themselves and walking into shopping malls. It leads to Palestinians targeting nightclubs full of young people and blowing them up. And yes, it leads a Palestinian teenager, with hatred in his eyes and a knife in his hands, slashing innocents like these latest victims.

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