Why Did Netanyahu Free My Daughter's Killer?

Mother Blasts Prisoner Exchange To Free Gilad Shalit

Hurtful Deal: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit salutes after being freed by Hamas. Scores of convicted terrorists were freed in the deal to win his release, including a convicted terrorist who killed Malki Roth.
getty images
Hurtful Deal: Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit salutes after being freed by Hamas. Scores of convicted terrorists were freed in the deal to win his release, including a convicted terrorist who killed Malki Roth.

By Frimet Roth

Published November 30, 2011, issue of December 09, 2011.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Malki, in October you would have turned 25, if only… if only you hadn’t stopped in at the Sbarro restaurant in the center of Jerusalem with your best friend, Michal, that hot summer afternoon of August 9, 2001.

You were on your way to a camp counselors’ meeting but had some time to spare. At 2 p.m., while you both stood on line, waiting to order, a Palestinian Arab man finished his meal, stood up and detonated the explosives concealed in his guitar case. Fifteen men, women and children perished.

Malki Roth was 15 when she was killed in the Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.
courtesy of roth family
Malki Roth was 15 when she was killed in the Sbarro suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001.

In recent weeks, the pain we have endured for 10 years has become even more intense. We can thank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for that. Despite our hand-delivered entreaties to keep your murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, in prison — to which Netanyahu never responded — he freed her in the prisoner exchange deal that led to the release of Gilad Shalit. The letter of “explanation” he claimed publicly in October to have mailed to all the affected terror victim families has, for some reason, not yet reached us.

Malki, you never saw your murderer. By her own account, Tamimi scouted Jerusalem for days before she selected the target. She then transported a 10 kilogram bomb and led the suicide bomber to the site. Later, in prison, she smiled for the cameras when she learned that not three (as she had thought) but eight children were among the victims. She proclaimed repeatedly, “I am not sorry for what I did…. I would do it again.”

The judge who sentenced her to 16 life terms appreciated the depths of Tamimi’s evil. In handing down the sentence, he recommended that she never be included in any prisoner exchange. But our prime minister, rejecting those considered rulings, repatriated this woman to her father and brother in Jordan — and assured the public that she had been “exiled.”

Adding salt to our wounds is an avalanche of revelations about the Shalit saga, which was unleashed the moment Gilad returned home.

Ronen Cohen, who recently stepped down from leading the counter-terrorism unit in military intelligence, spoke to Haaretz and Israeli television on the day that Shalit was freed. He declared that the handling of Shalit’s captivity “was a resounding failure of the IDF. There are no other words to describe it. The IDF never took responsibility for the soldier and did not even set up a team to deal with bringing him back. They simply passed it on to the Shin Bet [security service].”

Cohen continued, “It may also be that during [Operation Cast Lead in December 2008] it was still possible to do something under the cover of the chaos of the fighting, but it was not done.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What do you think of Wonder Woman's new look?
  • "She said that Ruven Barkan, a Conservative rabbi, came into her classroom, closed the door and turned out the lights. He asked the class of fourth graders to lie on the floor and relax their bodies. Then, he asked them to pray for abused children." Read Paul Berger's compelling story about a #Savannah community in turmoil:
  • “Everything around me turns orange, then a second of silence, then a bomb goes off!" First installment of Walid Abuzaid’s account of the war in #Gaza:
  • Is boredom un-Jewish?
  • Let's face it: there's really only one Katz's Delicatessen.
  • "Dear Diaspora Jews, I’m sorry to break it to you, but you can’t have it both ways. You can’t insist that every Jew is intrinsically part of the Israeli state and that Jews are also intrinsically separate from, and therefore not responsible for, the actions of the Israeli state." Do you agree?
  • Are Michelangelo's paintings anti-Semitic? Meet the Jews of the Sistine Chapel: http://jd.fo/i4UDl
  • What does the Israel-Hamas war look like through Haredi eyes?
  • Was Israel really shocked to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza?
  • “Going to Berlin, I had a sense of something waiting there for me. I was searching for something and felt I could unlock it by walking the streets where my grandfather walked and where my father grew up.”
  • How can 3 contradictory theories of Yiddish co-exist? Share this with Yiddish lovers!
  • "We must answer truthfully: Has a drop of all this bloodshed really helped bring us to a better place?”
  • "There are two roads. We have repeatedly taken the one more traveled, and that has made all the difference." Dahlia Scheindlin looks at the roots of Israel's conflict with Gaza.
  • Shalom, Cooperstown! Cooperstown Jewish mayor Jeff Katz and Jeff Idelson, director of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, work together to oversee induction weekend.
  • A boost for morale, if not morals.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.