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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘malki roth’

From the Greatest Loss, They Created the Means to Give to Others

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Could you do it?

Could you take what is, without a doubt, the worst tragedy imaginable – the intentional, violent murder of your sweet little girl – and turn your grief into the impetus to help others?

That is what Frimet and Arnold Roth did after their then-15 year old daughter, Malki, was murdered in the grotesque homicide bombing of the Sbarro Pizzaria in downtown Jerusalem.  Malki Roth and 14 other innocent civilans died violent deaths on the 9th of August, 2001. Eight of the murdered were children.  A woman pregnant with her first child also died in the bombing, and 130 were wounded.

The Roths created Keren Malki (Malki Foundation) within months of the bombing.  What would so understandably have made most parents turn inwards with grief, instead, for the Roths, became a mission to create something positive that would reflect the goodness of the daughter whose future was stolen.  Malki’s little sister is severely disabled and Keren Malki, formed 12 years ago, provides a myriad of services for the benefit of children with special needs and their families.

This week the Roths were honored for the work that Keren Malki (keren is the Hebrew word for ‘foundation’) has done over the past twelve years for the benefit of children with special needs and their families. Israel’s Minister of Welfare and Social Affairs, Meir Cohen, presented the Roths with the Minister’s Shield for Volunteerism – Lifetime Achievement Award.

Arnold Roth, who made aliyah from Australia many years ago, said about the honor he and his wife received, “Our daughter Malki’s love for her own disabled little sister, and her devotion, led her to do incredible things in the short and beautiful life she had. There was nothing we could do for Malki after the terrorists stole her future from her and from us. Nothing, that is, except to remember and honor it by doing positive, helpful things in her name. Thanks to the support we get from generous people from all over, that is what Keren Malki is doing.”

Keren Malki provides services that allow the severely disabled to remain at home and be cared for by family members.  Among the services it provides are long-term lending of assistive equipment; funding of vital paramedical therapies; and at-home therapist visits in periphery communities.

Incredibly – unless you have the fortune to know these extraordinary people – the foundation the Roths created provides services to any who are in need; it has enabled many thousands of Jewish, Druze, Muslim and Christian families to continue caring for their loved ones at home.

The Israeli government honored Arnold and Frimet Roth this week, but the Roths – tzadikim – honor all of humanity by showing us how to give, despite what was taken from them.

 

Malka Chana Roth, 1985-2001

Malka Chana Roth, 1985-2001

The Silence on Israel’s Memorial Day

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Tonight, Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron, its annual Memorial Day, known officially as the Day of Remembrance for Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.  Arnold Roth delivered the following (in Hebrew) as a speech at a public Yom Hazikaron commemoration in the Jerusalem community where he and his wife and children live.

My daughter Malki z”l was murdered in August 2001.

In the years since then, I have met and spoken with politicians, journalists, diplomats and public figures from many countries. It has been a privilege to engage with them, to address their questions of how it is to live in a society where so many people have experienced personal loss from war.

It is much rarer to express those feelings to one’s own neighbors. What can be said to them that they do not know already?

Perhaps nothing, because we live our lives so close to each other and therefore we share many experiences.  We see each other on the bus and at the kanyon (shopping mall). Walking along the street, going to the youth center or the synagogue, waiting at the same traffic lights for the red light to become green.

With all that we share, it is inescapable that our stories are individual, personal, unique and non-standard. Our experiences in life are like that too: different from one another’s. The music that some of us enjoy is not so enjoyable to others. The same with food, with politics, with the color and style of our clothes, with the books we like to read.

I know very little about what is going on inside the heads of the people who stand on line with me at the supermarket. I expect that what they know about me is very little, too.

Each year, I ask myself: What are they thinking when all of us stand in silence as the siren to mark the minute of silence is sounding?

I know what I am thinking about. I know we are probably not thinking the same things.

There are some who will surely say that what we need to think about is the soldiers who paid the highest price in order to defend our land. Or about the heroes of Israel whose blood was shed so that we might gain our national independence.

How unusual is it to find an entire country standing absolutely still, not speaking, not driving, while an unnatural sound fills the air? And not just any unnatural sound, but the sound of the tzefira, the siren? A sound that, if we hear it on a different day, would cause our hearts to beat rapidly and our hands to become sweaty. A frightening sound.

And as we stand there, no trucks, no buses, no cars are moving.

Several million people, who cannot be persuaded to do something together at any other time, suddenly co-operate in doing something at precisely the same moment that brings no personal benefit to any of us. Why?

I feel deep gratitude to the men and women who fought to defend our country.

But it is terribly difficult for me to think about 25,578 korbanot (victims, deceased). I want to feel the pain of their lost futures. Their goodwill and their dedication to our land, our people and our history and the terrible result demand that I should try.

But in the end, it is a number that my mind simply cannot hold.

I have visited many countries. I have never seen anything like an entire nation of people come to a standstill, leaving their cars in the middle of the highway, standing there on the pavement with their heads bowed. I think it is one of the most powerful and moving sights imaginable.

Even as I struggle to think about the vast pain of an entire nation honoring the memory of thousands of its dead soldiers and police and terror victims, I ask myself: But what does it mean? What good does it do to remember?

There are, as I said, large differences between us. All of us can see that while some of us have paid a terrible personal price for the blessings in our lives, others appear to have been completely excused.

There are people who can explain this. Their explanations do not speak to me.

A Little Village in the Hills and the Monsters it Spawns

Monday, March 18th, 2013

If you want to affect how people think about an issue, putting your case onto the cover of the New York Times Magazine must be one of the most effective things to do. And, given the intense competition, one of the hardest. So if the editors of the NYT (108 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization; 30 million unique visitors per month to its website; the largest local metropolitan newspaper in the United States – according to Wikipedia) give you the cover of the prestigious Magazine, it’s a massive vote of confidence, a huge privilege, a platform of the most effective kind that (probably) can’t be bought for money.

Friends have pointed us to this week’s NYT Magazine cover story, published Sunday. It’s devoted to a Palestinian Arab village set in the hills a few kilometers north of where we live in Jerusalem. It’s a place the author calls “spirited,” where “on warm summer evenings, life… could feel almost idyllic. Everyone knows everyone.” He says “a pilgrimage” to this magical place “has achieved a measure of cachet among young European activists, the way a stint with the Zapatistas did in Mexico in the 1990s”.

How can you not be captivated?But there is much wrong with the picture he conjures up. We know this because for years we have been tracking the media’s romance with the community called Nabi Saleh. Sitting here and looking over the online version of it, we are furious with anger about what the article says, and what the writer and his editors carefully avoid saying.

Start with some background: the Wikipedia entry for Nabi Saleh describes the village of some 550 people in notably gentle terms. Centered on an old religious shrine to the prophet Shelah whom we encounter in Genesis as the son of Judah and grandson of the patriarch Jacob, it was a hamlet of a mere five houses in the late nineteenth century when the Turks ruled the area. It grew slowly under the Jordanian military occupation that started in 1948; then declined when Israel took control of Judea and Samaria in 1967, and flourished and multiplied in the past two decades. Today, it’s the scene of weekly protest demonstrations and, to judge from Wikipedia’s English-language version, a place where things are done to passive inhabitants for no apparent reason.

Now if you go to the Arabic-language version of Wikipedia, you see a quite different emphasis. It’s not at all a direct translation of the English version. It’s created by different people for a different audience and different sensibilities. The Arabic Wikipedia entry depicts Nabi Saleh as a place of “popular resistance” that boasts of having taken a prominent role in two Intifadas, providing “hundreds of prisoners” and 17 so-called “martyrs on the altar of freedom.” The most prominent of the prisoners (Wikipedia’s description) is a woman called Ahlam. Her surname is shared with almost every other inhabitant of the village: Tamimi.

But it is Bassem Tamimi who is the focus of the article. He calls the Intifada launched by Yasser Arafat in 2000 “the big mistake… Politically, we went backward.”The NYT writer helps us understand what kind of backward he means:

Much of the international good will gained over the previous decade was squandered. Taking up arms wasn’t, for Bassem, a moral error so much as a strategic one. He and everyone else I spoke with in the village insisted they had the right to armed resistance; they just don’t think it works.

Or to say it another way: they are entitled to kill the Israelis and have done so again and again, but it’s not effective. A different kind of warfare therefore needs to be adopted.

Half-way through the essay, he introduces a figure who embodies that “big mistake”:

In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much-loved in Nabi Saleh.

That’s all he writes about Ahlam Tamimi but we can tell you more. She is a Jordanian who was 21 years old and the news-reader on official Palestinian Authority television when she signed on with Hamas to become a terrorist. She engineered, planned and helped execute a massacre in the center of Jerusalem on a hot summer afternoon in 2001. She chose the target, a restaurant filled with Jewish children. And she brought the bomb. The outcome (15 killed, a sixteenth still in a vegetative state today, 130 injured) was so uplifting to her that she has gone on camera again and again to say, smiling into the camera lens, how proud she is of what she did. She is entirely free of regret. A convicted felon and a mass-murderer convicted on multiple homicide charges, she has never denied the role she embraced and justifies it fully.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/a-little-village-in-the-hills-and-the-monsters-it-spawns/2013/03/18/

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