Tuesday, August 07, 2007

7-Aug-07: What disaster have these thugs wrought on their people

It's reported this evening that a Qassam rocket -- yet another one of hundreds fired off by Palestinian terrorists in the past several years -- today killed an eight-year-old boy and his six-year-old sister. Five more children were injured. The rocket was fired at Israel. But as happens often when you have neither the wit nor the concern to fight like a man, it fell short and struck the children's house in the village of Beit Lahiya, a Gazan Arab town. Atypically of Palestine's revolutionary "heroes", no group claimed responsibility.

As of this writing, Australia's ABC and the Iranian "news" network Alalam both say the deaths happened because "
an Israeli shell they were playing with exploded, witnesses and medics said." Some witnesses. (Even the Irish Times has been reporting for the past nine hours that a rocket "fired at Israel by Palestinian militants today fell short and killed two Palestinian children in the Gaza Strip, ambulance crews said.")

Neither source deems newsworthy the fact that Beit Lahiya has for the past two years served as the principal staging area for many of the deadly Palestinian Arab rockets fired daily into Israeli farms, home, schools and towns.

7-Aug-07: Hot House: Cold Truths

Israel, in the throes of an existential war on terror, saw no reason to deny Ahlam Tamimi - the person who planned the Jerusalem terror massacre that killed Malki Roth - the privilege to ascend a cinematic soapbox, spew her venom and get her smiling, glamorous promotional picture in the international papers. She and dozens of other Palestinian terrorists were allowed to star in a documentary film that has sold out theaters.

One of this site's bloggers writes in today's Haaretz:

The cold truth about 'Hot House'
By Frimet Roth *
Haaretz - Tuesday 7th August 2007

Reading reviews of the Israeli documentary "Hot House" has been a traumatic experience for me. Is this normal? I doubt if even psychologists could say.

No compassionate state would subject a mother to such torture. No sane government would help a cold-blooded mass murderer ascend a cinematic soapbox, spew her venom and get her smiling, glamorous promotional picture in the international papers.

But Israel, in the throes of an existential war on terror, saw no reason to deny Ahlam Tamimi - the person who planned the Jerusalem terror massacre that killed my daughter - that privilege. She and dozens of other Palestinian terrorists were allowed to star in a documentary film that has sold out theaters.

Shimon Dotan, the Romanian-born former Israeli who made "Hot House," says the Prisons Service freely admitted him to half a dozen prisons across Israel over the course of a year. The authorities deserve a "certificate of honor," he says, for their permissiveness, adding: "It is difficult for me to say that, and I don't want to brag about it."

His film exposes astonishing aspects of life behind bars in Israel where convicted Palestinian terrorists enjoy country-club-like conditions. They all have access to Israeli and Palestinian radio, television and newspapers. Cells, shared with terror-group cronies, are equipped with their choice of colorful rugs and wall hangings. Cooking facilities allow them to indulge their personal culinary tastes. They enjoy bi-weekly family visits. They are free to hone their political skills, conduct internal elections and nurture their political careers. Prison garb is waived; women sport Islamic attire, down to the colorful silk scarves my daughter's murderer favors. Prayer halls are available for the free practice of the very faith that inspired their crimes. And as the film points out, many of them earn, at the Israeli citizen's expense, university degrees. In Israel, the death penalty is never applied to terrorists.

No one in the Prisons Service challenges this absurd state of affairs.

"Hot House" could have been used to counter the rampant disinformation about Israel's treatment of Palestinian prisoners. Yet nothing was farther from the producers' minds.

Dotan, who has resided in the U.S. and Canada for several years, missed one of Israel's most harrowing periods. Yet he says his motive is to "make Israelis understand the issue of Palestinian prisoners [and] think we are doing exactly the same things [to the Palestinians] in their civilian life. We owe them empathy." Dotan is not alone in his conviction that to defend yourself against murderers is no different than murder. Many Israelis espouse and express this perverted morality.

In Israel, as in any authentic democracy, everyone may freely voice his views. Yet "Hot House" goes beyond free speech. It was primarily underwritten by Israeli government sources - not Dotan's personal funds. In other words, by us taxpayers. The New Foundation for Film and Television was established in 1993 to essentially support the production of documentary films. With 60 percent of its budget, millions of shekels annually, coming from the Education, Culture and Sports Ministry, this foundation was a primary source of the film's budget.

Compared to the release of 256 Palestinian prisoners and amnesty granted to 180 wanted terrorists, both of which Israel recently did, funding a pro-terrorist film may seem like child's play. But films are skillful victors over naive hearts and minds.

Israel's leaders have been notoriously lax in their attitude toward public relations. "Hot House" reveals that they have actually been pro-actively blackening their country's image.

Consider one of the human beings they have chosen to profile: my daughter's murderer. Dotan says he sat with her for two hours, having a "gripping" conversation. He asked whether she knew how many children had perished in the bombing of Sbarro. Smiling, as she generally does, she guessed "three." "It was eight," Dotan corrected her. She seemed delighted and smiled again, asking, "really?"

Dotan and his fellow producers are marketing this film aggressively throughout the world. If it hasn't yet, "Hot House" will undoubtedly reach a theater near you soon. Before entering the building, please consider this:

You will be bringing this evil creature, Tamimi, untold pleasure. Dotan says she was keen to publicize her views.

You will pad the bank accounts of individuals who revile Israel.

And you may emerge convinced that this film conveys a balanced picture of the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A film without a single appearance by a victim of the terrorists. Not one photograph. Not even one name.

* Frimet Roth is a freelance writer in Jerusalem who frequently contributes articles dealing with terrorism, and with special-needs children. She and her husband founded and manage the Malki Foundation (www.kerenmalki.org) in their daughter's memory. The foundation provides concrete support for Israeli families of all religions who care at home for a special-needs child.

Friday, August 03, 2007

3-Aug-07: Six Years

As the sun sets this evening, Friday, here in Jerusalem, we will be marking the sixth yahrzeit of the death of our daughter Malka Chana z"l. The date is the twentieth day of the month of Av, and this year that date falls on the Sabbath.

Jewish tradition focuses much more attention on life than on death. One of the ways we see this is in how the upbeat and pleasant nature of the Sabbath prevails over the well-defined practices associated with mourning and grief. There are very few public, outward manifestations of grief on Sabbath. So strong is this inclination that apart from the saying of the very brief Kaddish memorial prayer, the anniversary (which is what the Yiddish word yahrzeit refers to) is hardly noticed.

Hardly noticed, that is, by outsiders. For us, the family, the day is full of memories, pain and regret.

The public remembering of Malki's life will take place on Sunday late afternoon, deferred in accordance with tradition to a time other than the Sabbath.

At 6pm this Sunday, 5th August, at Jerusalem's Mt Tamir Cemetery, the families and friends of two girls, our daughter Malki Roth and her friend Michal Raziel will gather at the two side-by-side graves for a simple ceremony of remembrance, psalms and prayer.

Even if Malki's 15 years of life were personally unknown to you, even if her death was just another news report among many, please take a moment to read about our daughter and the things we try to do in her memory. You might start here.

We get a steady stream of hate mail to this blog - ugly, ignorant and boorish. (Everyone who writes in defence of Israel knows the experience.) We sometimes fantasize about what it would be like to take some of those know-nuttin' thuggish writers and walk them through the activities of the Malki Foundation and let them see how we work hard to help families who are caring for a child with serious special needs irrespective of whether they're Jewish, Moslem, Christian, Druze or anything else.

But we know it's not going to happen.

This is why it's so important for us to invite the good people - like you - to please visit the Foundation's website yourself and learn about our daughter's goodness, innocence, victimhood. Malki was not a special victim. Hundreds of children have died as deliberate victims of Palestinian Arabs on a mission from their god and his barbaric servants. But while Malki was like so many other innocents whose beautiful lives were stolen from us, this does not mean those who knew and loved her are content to let her fade away as just another statistic.

The Malki Foundation's work is entirely based on money provided by friends and supporters, and it's very well and carefully spent. If you have a few minutes, please start on this page, and if it makes sense to you then please become a supporter and please pass the message along.

Yehi zichra baruch. May the remembrance of Malki and her good deeds serve as a blessing. May her life, the life of her friend Michal and the lives of the hundreds of other innocent victims of the Arafat War never be lost in oblivion or in the pages of statistics.