A Child’s Murderer

I have some friends who have lost children – to sickness or accidents. I am amazed by their ability to put one foot in front of the other, to eat, to talk, to walk, to live. To laugh? Beyond my ability to even comprehend and yet somehow they do.

But what about when your child doesn’t die because of an accident? An illness? What about when your child is taken from you on a sunny day when suddenly the world explodes – her world, and yours? The letter below is written by just such a parent. This is the father of Malki Roth, who was 15 years old, when she joined her friends at the Sbarro Pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem to enjoy her summer vacation – in August, 10 years ago.

A Palestinian woman helped plan an attack. She helped scope out the place, acted the girlfriend of the killer as they joked and fooled soldiers at the checkpoint looking for the typical suicide bomber. And finally, after escorting him to Sbarro…made her escape as he entered, positioned himself between families and teens, and destroyed forever dozens of lives and families. Ahlam Tamimi is her name – the female terrorist who has gone on record as saying that she doesn’t regret her actions and when told that children had been killed…eight children…her response was to smile.

She said she is proud of what she did – and that she would be released, despite being sentenced to multiple life terms. I would have said she was wrong; that Israel would never release this woman. I want to call her so many names – none of them can I write here. The anger chokes…as of now, Tamimi is right. She is about to be released for Gilad Shalit and this is causing the families such incredible pain. Once when their children were killed. Once when Tamimi was caught, tried, and sentenced and they had to live it all again; and now again, when Tamimi is freed and Malki Roth’s family and other victim’s families have to suffer through a moment they prayed would never come, knowing their loved ones are lost to them forever.

I received the following letter and request to sign a petition from Malki’s father and received his permission to reprint it. I hate online petitions – and yet I have signed this one and ask you to please sign it as well. You, members of your families, friends, contacts – anyone and everyone. Please take a moment to sign it – if not for justice, than for Malki and for her parents.

From Frimet and Arnold Roth:

Dear friends,

Please pass this heartfelt request along urgently to your contacts. It’s a request to sign a petition, online here:

Under normal circumstances, requests to sign a petition are unlikely to lead to any significant outcomes. In this case, we are hoping to do something important.

The petition asks for the removal of one specific name from the list of more than one thousand terrorists, including hundreds of convicted murderers, to be published by the government of Israel tomorrow, Sunday. That list is the basis of a transaction by which Israel will get back Gilad Shalit, held hostage by the terrorists of Hamas for more than five years. The deal involves Israel throwing open the gates of its top-security prisons and issuing wholesale pardons. My wife Frimet and I have expressed our principled objection to the deal. While others are busy trying to stop it in the courts, we are focusing our energies on one specific person, and getting her off the list.

Her name is Tamimi. An article in today’s New York Times [ http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/world/middleeast/israel-prisoner-swap-touches-old-wounds.html ] provides some background:

Among those is Ahlam Tamimi, a 31-year-old woman who was a key figure in the pizzeria attack. She is often described as the driver of the car that brought the suicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant and killed 15 people. But the Roths say her role went far beyond that, to the actual planning of the attack. In interviews from prison, Ms. Tamimi, who was a journalist, has told of having brought the suicide bomber to Jerusalem and then going on Palestinian television’s afternoon broadcast to announce the news of the attack without acknowledging her involvement. “I’m not sorry for what I did,” she told an Israeli news organization in 2006. “I will get out of prison, and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence. Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.”
The Roths said their anger over the prisoner exchange was focused on Ms. Tamimi, who is being sent to Jordan. She is young, fervent and charismatic, Mr. Roth said, and proud of what she did. In a documentary on Palestinian prisoners, she was asked whether she knew how many children had been killed in the attack. She did not. When told the number was eight, she smiled.
There is a fuller background about the circumstances in which our daughter was murdered on the Keren Malki website: http://www.kerenmalki.org/Sbarro_Massacre.htm

And there are many articles on the web tonight showing her family and supporters celebrating her impending return to freedom and to a full and active life as a heroine and inspiration.

Even if you do not normally sign petitions, or pass them along to friends, we ask you to seriously consider signing this one. Once again, it’s online here:

Time is very limited. We really only have until Sunday (16th October) to get a significant number of signatures. If we succeed, we can then put pressure on the Prime Minister’s Office and the Justice Ministry and publicize this in the media.

Finally, allow me to mention that Keren Malki, the not-for-profit we created in our daughter’s memory in 2001, does very work in our murdered daughter’s name for the benefit of families raising a special-needs child. Your support for that work will be much appreciated. More at www.kerenmalki.org

Thank you for reading this far. Together with our friends and their friends, we hope – despite the odds – to do something constructive in the face of the terrible transaction being done with the terrorists of Hamas.

Arnold Roth

6 Comments on A Child’s Murderer

  1. I signed the petition and tweeted it.

    I stand with all the victims and their families. Its wrong to break every rule of justice to win Shalit’s freedom.

    If I was in his place, I would refuse to take the deal. My blood is not redder than the children of the slain. I do not want the anguish of countless families on my conscience.

    That is just me. A freedom which violates morality and justice in truth is no freedom at all. I take no joy in it and it is an affront to the sight of the living G-d.

    We must all speak up for the dead and honor them or we lose whatever peace we have. That is why I signed the petition. To do what is right in the sight of G-d!

    The release of even one murderer from prison is wrong.

  2. So now we know how to push the buttons of a left-oriented government.

    So let their cheerleaders in Tel Aviv and also the insurrectionist anti-Zionist MK’s, also find themselves sitting carefully hidden in a hole in the ground like Gild Shalit did.

    And let the next bunch of foreign terrorist-supporters find themselves in the same scenario, vice getting calmly and politely deported on a comfortable jet airplane back to Norway

    So then there will be plenty of cards to play to get hebrew-nationalist prisoners of conscious, sprung from prison.

    And what are the possible downsides….. that angry speeches will be made in Turtle Bay in NYC? THat Sweden will withdraw their Ambassador from Tel Aviv?

    Don’t curse Hamas’ clever successful strategies…. copy them, improve them.

  3. So, all of you who have put this burden on Gilad Shalit, who have put a price tag around his neck, tell me what does it say: Worthless, No Value, No Sale, You Are Not Our Soldier, You Are Not Our Son, You Are Not One of Us. Does it say: We Want You Left Behind? Tell me, I want to know. Tell me why you have no mercy for Gilad Shalit who has been imprisoned for more than five years on your behalf and why you don’t care how much longer he is held in captivity. Tell me why if this were your son, you would abandon him.

  4. Hi Barbara,

    No one is saying that Gilad is not our son, not one of us. Yes, Israel has always said we do not leave a man behind…and then Gilad was left for five horrible years. But he was not left behind because we didn’t care; only because he has been beyond our reach. We have mercy for him and that apparently leads to this deal. If it were my son…I would have done all that the Shalits have done and never with so much grace that they showed. We care. We care and we bleed with his family and with him.

    But we also bleed for what we know is to come. Already, Hamas has promised more kidnappings. Already, those about to be freed have promised they will do it again. Ahlam Tamimi helped murder men, women and children. She smiled when she was told 8 innocent children had died in the attack and she promised she would be released and would do it again. Tell me, if God forbid, it was your son in the next attack…would you still feel that we should have released these people for Gilad? Malka Roth can never return, nor can the others. Who are we to say that her parents don’t care about Gilad or to suggest that Gilad is worth more than the future victims that will come from those we release this week?

    This is not a case of maybe or if. This has happened again and again. The psychological torture rules by which Hamas lives encourage them – they want these murderers to kill again because when they do…when they do, our hearts will agonize all the more because we will know that these new deaths could have been avoided. We will get back one son and will likely lose many others. We’ll do it this week…but allow us the agony to live with the fact that as each of these terrorists’ feet touch ground in Gaza, Jordan, Turkey and elsewhere, someone else’s fate has been sealed.

  5. It is utterly heartless to try to sabotage this prisoner exchange with fear-mongering. Who among you is proud to say to Gilad Shalit, we will make an example of you, the prisoner exchanges stop with you. None of these terrorists should even be alive today for an exchange to take place. There should be a scaffold built in front of the site of each terrorist attack and these monsters hung by the neck until dead. Is Israel a democracy or not? Change your laws to make this happen, don’t sit around and mourn the future, do something now, and stop acting like you are holier than God.

    This is not about justice for the victims and their families. What do Jews know about being treated with justice in this world anyway, nothing. This is not about more terrorism. For every prisoner let free, there are thousands ready and willing to take their place. This is not about future kidnappings. Hamas has said it will kidnap more soldiers and has tried even with Gilad in captivity.
    This is about one thing and one thing only: No Soldier Left Behind. This is the moment in time to get him back and it must be grabbed with both hands.

    And just in case you think I sit over here in America safe and sound (huh!) and I do not have a stake in this, I gave my only child to the IDF combat forces. I literally signed away my right to his life. I cringe every time he goes to the bus station in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, when he hitchhikes through the West Bank in uniform (I know, I know, but they will do it), when he eats in restaurants or goes to nightclubs or to the mall. He is my only child and my future. I want him to be safe. One day I will be an Israeli citizen as well, and I will share this fear for myself with all you. But I will never say a soldier should be made to bear this terrible burden alone. This could be my son, Paula, and it could be yours. I would show no grace at all in getting him back.

  6. All one can wish for, and I have stated this in several places, is for each of the terrorists who is being released to be the victim of a targeted killing…the sooner the better. They should not be granted one day on earth to walk as free men. I can imagine the fear and anguish Israelis must feel knowing that they will not be imprisoned for life for their horrific crimes. This does not mean that I am not overjoyed that the Shalits will soon be embracing their beloved son. It does mean however,that these lowest of creatures, these Arab terrorists being set free, should not experience even one hour of joy in their time left on earth.

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