So you thought PM Netanyahu is tough on terrorism? Not exactly.

June 25, 2012 by  
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The mother of Melbourne-born Malki Roth who died at the hands of a suicide writes about the release of the woman who was responsible for her death.Last week, our government sent my daughter’s murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, a pre-wedding gift.

Malki, Frimet and Arnold Roth. The other members of the Roth family have been blanked out to protect their privacy

Tamimi, the woman who engineered the 2001 massacre in Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant, was released from prison by the Israeli government in October 2011. Along with 1,027 other terrorists, many of them murderers like her, she was freed to secure the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Since then, she has been explicitly inciting audiences throughout the Arab world to further acts of terror.

Nevertheless, on June 7, Israel chose to deliver her the man to whom she became betrothed by proxy in prison some years ago. Like Tamimi, her fiancé and cousin Nizar al-Tamimi is a murderer, serving a life sentence until he too was freed in the Shalit transaction.

My daughter Malki, 15, was among the victims of the Sbarro massacre. For years, aware of the pressure from Hamas to see Ahlam Tamimi freed, my husband and I wrote and spoke at every opportunity about the danger and injustice of that move.

Even now, it is beyond our comprehension how the Netanyahu government could have included her in the swap. In the days following the release, revelations about alternate and feasible means – ones never pursued by our leaders – to rescue Shalit, deepened our pain. Now we are reeling from this fresh outrage.

Perhaps aware of the Tamimis’ wedding plans, Israel’s release of al-Tamimi in October 2011 stipulated that he remain in the area controlled by the Palestinian Authority. Any attempt to leave would amount to a violation, subjecting him to re-arrest and re-imprisonment for life.

Three weeks ago, the Arab media reported that al-Tamimi presented himself at the Allenby Bridge seeking to enter Jordan and was refused. Ahlam Tamimi claimed the Israelis had agreed to allow her fiancé to join her and then reneged.

The matter received no local coverage, so we contacted the Shabak, Israel’s General Security Service, on May 22. We asked whether Tamimi’s claim was accurate. Despite several follow on phone calls and e-mails, it was June 6 when a response finally arrived by fax from the Prime Minister’s Office. It curtly stated that “after consideration” permission had been given for Nizar al-Tamimi to go abroad subject to his undertaking to remain away for five years. It said he had not yet departed.

We immediately retained a lawyer to petition the High Court of Justice – in Hebrew, the Bagatz – to have this decision reversed. We sent all the Bagatz papers and affidavits to the Prime Minister’s office and the Ministry of Justice. In addition, we faxed and emailed a personal letter to Netanyahu begging him to reconsider this move.

We asked the government’s lawyer to agree to close the borders to Nizar al-Tamimi pending the urgent High Court hearing. We never imagined how ridiculous that request was. The following day, the government’s lawyer responded to ours [see our post: 10-Jun-12: A phone call from the government’s lawyers] with the news that Nizar al-Tamimi had been allowed to cross over to Jordan three days earlier.

The disdain of these government representatives should not have surprised us.

Prime Minister Netanyahu himself has been nothing short of contemptuous towards victims of terror like us before, during and after the Shalit transaction. He ignored our two desperate pleas for Ahlam Tamimi’s name to be removed from the list of prisoners to go free in the Shalit deal. The first of those was hand delivered to him four months before he caved in to Hamas’ demands. The second letter was published in the Hebrew and English editions of the Haaretz newspaper days before the release. Neither one elicited any response.

We have based our actions on principles of justice and security for all Israelis. Politics plays no role. Perhaps this is why Mr. Netanyahu has never deigned to answer us. A political creature to his very core and a terribly busy man, he has no time for citizens who do not advance his career.

Though he clearly has Iran on his mind, we know the PM does make time for less-than-earth-shattering matters.

•    On March 28, he spoke to windsurfer Lee Korzits, who won the RS:X Windsurfing World Championship in Cadiz, Spain. “Congratulations Lee, you have honorably and successfully represented both yourself and the State of Israel,” said the PM. “You are a champion, the best in the world. I and all of Israel hope that you will also win a gold medal at the London Olympics.”
•    On May 5, Netanyahu invited the players, coach and team owner of Ironi Kiryat Shemona to his office to warmly congratulate them after they won the Premier League championship.
•    On May 25, the Prime Minister phoned swimmer Jonathan Koplev after he won a gold medal in the men’s 50-meter backstroke. “Mazal tov. Your achievement is incredible. Keep your head above water and continue breaking records” he said.
•    On May 30, Mr. Netanyahu gushed to Israeli Chess Grandmaster Boris Gelfand: “Yours is a huge achievement. I followed your moves and I was impressed. When you were thinking, I thought about what you were thinking. You created great interest among many people about chess thanks to your example. I congratulate you about your personal, and the national, achievement.”
Why, we demand to know, did this government secretly delete the condition of the murderer Nazir al-Tamimi’s release? This had been accepted by Hamas and was the last vestige of punishment that remained for two evil monsters. There is simply no rationalization for rewarding them.

Unlike the Shalit deal, this generosity will not return to Israel any missing soldiers. It does not benefit the nation in any way. But it will embolden terrorists everywhere. Tamimi will make certain of that.

Since the Shalit deal, she has traveled freely from her base in Jordan. On visits to Lebanon, Libya, Tunisia and Qatar, she incites crowds of fans to follow in her footsteps. She hosts a weekly prime-time TV talk show every Friday night on a Hamas satellite channel. Since March, her hateful messages are beamed to households throughout the Arabic-speaking world. She brags about her barbaric deed, declares she has no regrets, encourages others to follow and states her readiness to repeat it.

Many know Tamimi as the “star” of a viral YouTube clip in which she smiles joyfully upon learning that her fifteen victims at Sbarro include eight children. She had thought there were three, she says.

This is the person our leaders – sworn to uphold the basic democratic principles of justice and fairness – have chosen to reward.

Precious Malki has been denied forever the right to life, marriage and a family. But we must now watch Tamimi, the embodiment of evil, living her life to the fullest. Courtesy of our own government.

Fromet Roth’s husband Arnold told J-Wire: “Frimet was born in New York. She and I lived in Melbourne (where I was born) from our marriage in 1976 until our aliyah in 1988. Our first four children were born in Melbourne. Malki was the youngest of them, and was two when we made aliyah.”

Then open letter Frimet Roth sent to Israeli Prime Minister BinyaminNetanyahu:

“Prime Minister Netanyahu: Honor the principles of justice and decency on which our nation is based.”


Binyamin Netanyahu,

Prime Minister


Dear Mr Prime Minister,

This is the third time we are writing to you. This letter is written in the hope that you will not ignore us in the way we were ignored the two earlier times.

Our first letter, a private one, was handed to you some months before you decided to release 1,027 prisoners, most of them convicted terrorists and murderers, in the Gilad Shalit transaction. The list included Ahlam Tamimi who is the murderer of our daughter Malki. We reminded you of the atrocities committed by Tamimi – the fifteen men, women and children she massacred and the pleasure she expressed on camera about her crimes. She had been sentenced to 16 life terms and the court had recommended that no consideration be given in the future to her being included in any prisoner swap deals. We urged you, before it was too late, to make the decision never to allow her to be released.

Our second letter was written very shortly after we learned of your government’s decision to surrender to virtually the full list of demands made by Hamas in the Shalit deal. We begged you to remove just one name – Ahlam Tamimi’s – from the list of prisoners to be set free. That letter appeared in both the Hebrew and English editions of the Haaretz newspaper. It got considerable attention, but neither you nor any of your aides ever responded to us then or later.

Ahlam Tamimi walked out of the Israeli prison with a straight back, without uttering a single word of regret for her barbarous actions. On crossing to the other side of our country’s borders, she promptly embarked once again on a campaign of activity calculated to advance the terrorists’ agenda. Currently, she is the star performer in a weekly television program broadcast globally throughout the Arabic-speaking world, and whose essence is the encouragement of acts of terror.

On Wednesday afternoon, we received notification from your office that your government has made another decision for the benefit of this monstrous murderer. Her husband Nizar al-Tamimi was convicted in 1993 of the cold-blooded killing of a Jewish resident of the community of Beth El, Chaim Mizrachi, and the burning of his body, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. He too was released in last October’s Shalit deal. His release was conditioned on the requirement that he remain at all times within the areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

Now, we have learned to our horror, this condition has been removed. Your government has decided to permit Nizar al-Tamimi to cross the border in order to unite with his convicted murderer wife.

Once he joins her, there can be little doubt that we will be witness to an upgrading of the media celebration around the woman. The presence of the terrorist husband at her side will be a powerful enhancement to the global pro-terror platform she has established. It will certainly be the impetus for additional acts of terror against Israeli citizens, and will make a mockery of Israeli law and deterrent policies. As well, Ahlam Tamimi, self-confessed, convicted, unrepentant and proud murderer, will now be free to enjoy a life of marital and family happiness.

Who can forget how this woman smiled joyously into the video camera on learning that the number of children whose deaths she caused in the Sbarro massacre of August 2001 was eight, and not three as she had presumed?

Since her return to her family and her homeland, Jordan, she has repeatedly assured television interviewers that she has no regrets. She says she would commit the same atrocity again if the opportunity were to arise.

You argued in a televised speech to the nation last October that Gilad Shalit had to be returned even if the price of his freedom is terribly high. You maintained that ultimately, even if it does not seem this way, the Shalit deal was in our best interests.

We ask you now, Mr. Netanyahu:

  • Whose interests are served by this decision-reversal that permits Nizar al-Tamimi to leave the PA zone and cross over to Jordan?
  • Which missing soldier are you returning by making this decision to allow Nizar Al-Tamimi to unite with the wife he has never met?
  • Where is the sensitivity to the impact that the Tamimi terrorist couple’s newly achieved happiness is going to have on fundamental principles of law and justice?
  • Where is the sensitivity to the feelings of victims?

There can be no doubt that the consequences of your decision will be negative in their impact on Israel’s deterrent capacity and its messaging to the world.

Your actions convey to us, the bereaved victims of the unjustly freed murderers as well as the Israeli civilians endangered by terrorism, that our welfare and security are not high enough on your list of priorities.

Before it is too late, take back this decision. Recall what you yourself wrote:

A government that seeks the defeat of the terrorists must refuse to release convicted terrorists from prisons… Releasing imprisoned terrorists emboldens them and their colleagues… By nurturing the belief that their demands are likely to be met in the future, you encourage terrorist blackmail of the very kind that you want to stop. Only the most unrelenting refusal to ever give in to such blackmail can prevent this.”  [“Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists” – Binyamin Netanyahu, Farrar Straus Giroux, New York 1995, at Page 144]

Honor the principles of justice and decency on which our nation is based and remember the innocent victims whose loved ones are – yet again – experiencing unfathomable pain as a result of your choices.


Frimet and Arnold Roth

(Parents of Malki z”l)



Frimet Roth is a freelance writer in Jerusalem. Her daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the Sbarro restaurant bombing (2001). She and her husband Arnold founded the Malki Foundation. It provides concrete support for several thousand Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child.


One Response to “So you thought PM Netanyahu is tough on terrorism? Not exactly.”
  1. Lynne Newington says:

    This beggars belief really.
    Yet it would no doubt have cause terrible inner conflict to the Prime Minister remembering his own loss of a much loved brother during the hostage-rescue mission at Entebbe and the many others since then.
    It is hard to imagine the feelings of all those other families hearing this news.

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