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"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

SF Jewish Film Festival: ‘Hot House’ grows strange fruit

Posted by Oyster on August 1, 2007

Malka at restaurant Hot House terrorist

My friend Zvika from ROI 120 forwarded me an email regarding the Israeli documentary (and HBO-produced) called ‘Hot House‘, which is being featured at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. The subject of the email (that Zvika was forwarding on) was the NY Times review of the film. What angered the writer of the email was the glamour-shot style picture of Ahlam Tamimi (pictured above right). You see, Ahlam Tamimi assisted in the murder of the writers’ daughter, Malka Chana Roth, z”l (pictured, above left). You see, Ahlam Tamimi was the driver of the suicide bomber who perpetrated the infamous Sbarros pizzeria terrorist attack, and she is unrepentant until today. As her mother and father passionately write,

That female is our child’s murderer. She was sentenced to sixteen life sentences or 320 years which she is serving in an Israeli jail. Fifteen people were killed and more than a hundred maimed and injured by the actions of this attractive person and her associates. The background is here.

Neither the New York Times nor HBO are likely to give even a moment’s attention to the victims of the barbarians who destroyed the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem and the lives of so many victims. So we would be grateful if you would pass along this link to some pictures of our daughter whose name was Malki. She was unable to reach her twenties – Hamas saw to that.

The parents of Malka Chana, who wrote that letter, insist that people not see the film, and not to read the NY Times review. I’d differ with them. I say that it is important for people to see these despicable people, proudly admitting and taking credit for these heinous, inhuman crimes. No amount of rhetoric can have the impact of seeing Ahlam (may her name be erased) gleefully retelling her horrific deeds. As Rita of SFist writes,

One completely terrifying sociopathic woman, in for planning the high-profile bombing of a Sbarros in Jerusalem, burbles cheerfully on and on about how great it was to drop someone off to kill himself and 15 other people (8 of whom were children. “Eight children? Eight.” she says, with a big smile.)

Frimet and Arnold, I ask you to look at this, and reconsider. Rita, who is not necessarily Jewish and writes for a very much secular publication in the Socialist Republic of San Francisco, is terrified of what she saw in that film. The evil that comes across the screen will be more effective in spreading the message of what happened to your daughter than trying to hide its message.

I invite everyone who reads this message to please see this film. It is still playing at the SFJFF up in San Rafael, on August 4th. After seeing the film, please read the material available at the Keren Malki Foundation’s website, and donate $18 to her memory.

Please read the text of Frimet & Arnold Roth’s original message, the JTA coverage, and the rebuttal that Frimet Roth was able to get published in the NY Times.

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2 Responses to “SF Jewish Film Festival: ‘Hot House’ grows strange fruit”

  1. lchaimlover said

    well said, well said.

  2. You’re right. Some people ought to see the movie. What we wrote in our letter was that we are not recommending either the letter or the review.

    The issue is larger than HBO and the film. What HBO did here, they and the New York Times, is being done all the time by all parts of the media, and beyond the media as well. I was asked to comment to the Australian Jewish News last week and expressed it this way:

    “As thoughtful members of Israeli society, we’re struck by the unbearable patronization with which our writings and opinions are treated by some social critics and politicians. It’s as if those pushing the lens onto the practitioners of terror believe the hatred that drives the killers is purifying and noble. The grief and pain of those of us left to mourn the destroyed lives of our loved ones are somehow less pure and discomforting to some. The war against terror is a war in every sense of the word. It will be with us for a long time to come. The degree to which we glorify, sanitize and ennoble terrorists is going to be highly influential in how successful we are stopping them. “Hot House” should be measured against that test.”

    On the other hand, we have had some indirect feedback from people inside HBO saying, in effect, this didn’t work out the way we wanted and we feel bad.

    Whether or not this is true, we feel worse. It’s plain that there is very little concern for us, for people like us, in society at large.

    Sadly this is no less true here in Israel than elsewhere

    Our goal was not so much to protest HBO’s actions or the film as to draw attention to victims of terror like Malki and to the unfathomable loss that their deaths cause to civilized society. The victims are forgotten very quickly (we speak with other bereaved parents here in Israel all the time – it’s a widely held view among us).

    My wife Frimet and I are both as active as amateurs can be in speaking publicly, writing whenever possible and trying to get our writing published (not such an easy or straightforward task) and being heard. Not every victim family can, and because we feel we can, we also feel we should.

    Thank you most sincerely for giving us a platform here.

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