Malka Chana Roth Z”L

By Arnold Roth

Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malka Chana was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, wrote the following letter to be read out at a solidarity rally for Israel in Sydney, Australia, on April 21, 2002.

Dear friends,

In January 2001, my daughter Malki and I took part in a solidarity rally - perhaps the largest ever gathering to take place in Israel.

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By Arnold Roth

Arnold Roth, whose 15-year-old daughter Malka Chana was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in Jerusalem on August 9, 2001, wrote the following letter to be read out at a solidarity rally for Israel in Sydney, Australia, on April 21, 2002.

Dear friends,

In January 2001, my daughter Malki and I took part in a solidarity rally – perhaps the largest ever gathering to take place in Israel. Jews from all around the world and from right across the political spectrum formed a sea of optimistic and exuberant humanity – a huge crowd in a non-partisan show of solidarity with the holiest and most meaningful place that Jews have ever known. Standing and singing in the brilliant winter night outside Jaffa Gate, we honoured a love relationship that has endured for 3,000 years.

My mother, may she continue to be well, lives in Melbourne. On one of her Pesach visits to us, I recall how she and I walked together and looked down on Jerusalem from the heights of Ramot. She told me how, when she was in Auschwitz, she had dreamed of some day walking under Yerushalayim’s blue skies. She could barely believe the dream had materialized, and that her grandchildren were now being raised as proud and knowledgeable Israelis. Her dream was the dream of countless generations of Jews before her.

I remembered my mother’s words this week when we participated as a bereaved family in the official state ceremony on Har Herzl for Yom Hazikaron – a solemn ceremony remembering the civilian dead in the ongoing terrorist war waged against Israel by the Arabs. Hundreds of families, ours among them, received an invitation to attend for the first time and to hear the measured words of Prime Minister Sharon and of President Katzav as well as the awful sounds of the Kel Maleh Rahamim prayer intoned by the chief chaplain of Zahal. Yom Hazikaron, coming immediately before Independence Day, and a week after Yom Hashoah, the day of Holocaust Remembrance is the link between the fears and pain of our shared past and the hopes and prayers for our collective future.

With its origins in the thirties and the twenties of this century, the Arab war of terror against Jewish civilians in the Holy Land is older than the State of Israel – older even than Auschwitz. In those years, there was no pretence by the Arab camp or by journalists seeking an “objective” view of the conflict in the Middle East that it had anything to do with “occupied territories”. There were no occupied territories. It was all about hatred and jealousy, about radically opposed views of democracy, culture and religion.

Malki’s love of Israel owed nothing to her views about the Palestinians, the Middle East conflict or Islam, because for the most part she had none. We do know from the diary in which she daily recorded her most private thoughts and fears, and which Frimet and I began reading only during the Shiva, that she was deeply agitated by Arab terror. It was on her mind a great deal. Her notes told us what she always kept private: that each loss of life in a piguah (terrorist outrage) brought her literally to tears, made it near impossible to focus on her studies. She was simply incapable of comprehending the fanatical hatred behind the horrifying acts which have become so much a part of our lives in these last nineteen months.

Malki was a powerfully, unstoppably optimistic fifteen year-old. We know from her friends that her wonderful smile almost never left her face, that her love and affection for friends and strangers were inspirational and infectious. This week, I received an anonymous letter, like several others which have been sent to us since 9th August , this time in Israeli teen-age English. I would like to share a couple of lines from this letter with you:

“Dear Mr Roth, Malki was the kind of person who didn’t always look for fun and enjoyment, she was a person who always gave up on that in order to make things better for the rest of the people around her. She always volientiered to do things. She did this to try and make things better for everybody… She was always running around asking people if they need help with anything.”

Malki loved Israel, and especially Jerusalem, with a pure and passionate love. Born in Melbourne, this was the home to which she was brought before she was three years old. This was the land which the Almighty had promised to the Jewish people and to which she felt a powerful connection. This was the place, as I mentioned, of her grandmother’s dreams.

When she heard about the plans for a rally and march around the walls of the Old City, it was the most natural thing for Malki to commit. She went there with her friends, while I made my own way by foot from my office, and we stayed in touch along the way by cell phone. I saw her from the distance, surrounded by friends, singing at the top of her voice, reveling in the sheer joy of loving her country, her city, her companions.

The January 2001 rally was an unforgettable experience in other ways. At the Sabbath table, we discussed the ways in which the press had reported it. The Jerusalem Post said 300,000 participated. The Washington Post said a quarter of a million. The Los Angeles Times estimated the crowd at 200,000. Then there was CNN. Their correspondent, untroubled by facts, said “Tens of thousands of Jews from Israel and elsewhere came to show their opposition to the very idea of this city being divided with the Palestinians. The whole issue has been casting a shadow over efforts for a negotiated peace.” At home, we spoke of how what seemed one kind of reality to us was perceived in an entirely different way by others.

For those of you unfamiliar with the details of her death, I will tell you that Malki was on her way to a planning meeting for the summer camp where she was to be a madricha when she and her friend Michal stopped off for a drink and a slice of pizza in the center of Jerusalem. According to one report, there was a young man with a guitar case who placed himself almost right next to the two girls. We know that Malki was happily tapping out a text message on her cell phone at the moment when the guitarist destroyed our world.

As if to prove how truly different our values and perceptions are from theirs, the Arabs created a week-long commemoration of the Sbarro massacre six weeks later in Nablus. Published photographs and reports show that they created a grotesque replica of the pizzeria, complete with a “kasher” sign above the entrance, as well as body parts and adulatory photographs of the killer.

In passing, let me take this opportunity to mention that I was approached last August for a radio interview by the Jerusalem correspondent for a certain government radio network based in Australia. He said he intended to bracket my interview with a parallel one he was planning to conduct with the family of the bomber. I said this made it impossible for me to consent. He said he was sure I would find that the particular family, called the Al-Masris, were in favour of the peace process and quite different from run-of-the-mill Moslem fanatics. I told him how firmly opposed I was to any attempt at creating a symmetrical view of the victim and the perpetrator. While I respected his interest in doing this, I could not take part. He said he would come back to me with a suggested alternative format for an interview, but never did. Shortly afterwards, I read the first of several published reports with Al Masri the father in which he said that Prime Minister Sharon “is continuing the policy of killing our people, and my son succeeded in carrying out a suitable response” and “We have to get rid of the Jews from around us.”

You have come here today to affirm that Israel’s leaders and its people want peace and are prepared to make painful compromises to achieve it. The true obstacle to peace is not Israel. We saw this at Camp David in July 2000. When the leaders of the Palestinians and the Arab states continue to deny Israel’s legitimacy as a Jewish state, they create a situation where peace is out of reach. Their continuing support for terrorism – their refusal to acknowledge that suicide bombings against Israelis are terror – constitute a reaffirmation of ancient hatreds.

Israel’s leadership has said again and again that peace cannot come while murderers are glorified, while the media, textbooks, and religious leaders espouse violence and hate, while political leaders incite and justify terrorism. We need peace, want peace, dream of peace and pray for it constantly – but today we have a more immediate priority for the moment: the safety and security of our land and of its people.

On behalf of Frimet and our children, I want to call on all of you to stand unequivocally behind the principles shared by Australia and Israel – to fight terrorism with determination; to respect democratic values; and to seek peace through negotiations, not violence.

Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisrael, v’imru – Amen.

© Israel My Beloved




The PLO was instituted in 1964 three years before the six day war in June 1967 when Israel, in a war of self-defense, recovered the so-called “West Bank”, now seen and proclaimed by nearly everybody as the quintessence crux of the Middle East problem.
This however shows that the PLO (All Palestine needs to be liberated) was not formed to erect a Palestinian state on the ‘so called’ West Bank but was instituted to replace all of Israel with a Muslim Palestinian State.

A Word From Zion

The New Testament Basis for the Restoration of Israel

Jesus was asked by His disciples whether He would restore the kingdom to Israel at that time, to which He replied:
Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.