Last month Cinemax aired an award-winning HBO-produced documentary by Israeli director Shimon Dotan called “Hot House” (“Bit’Honiim”), about “how Israeli prisons have become the breeding ground for the next generation of Palestinian leaders — as well as the birthplace of future terrorist threats.” In its glowing review of the film, the New York Times plastered a large publicity photo still of a young Palestinian woman, happy and beaming.
The face is of Ahlam Tamimi, an Israeli prisoner. Who is she? Well, according to the NYT: “A former Palestinian newscaster, Ahlam Tamimi, recalls the day she dropped a suicide bomber off at his target, then coolly went on television to report on the resulting bombing.”
The NYT doesn’t bother itself to point out that Ahlam Tamimi’s activities were successful, and that she is a convicted murderer and terrorist sentenced to 16 life terms in jail for her involvement in the terrorist attack on the Sbarro Pizzeria in Jerusalem in August 2001. Tamimi told reporters at the time: “I’m not sorry for what I did. We’ll become free from the occupation and then I will be free from prison.” Fifteen people were killed in this attack and over a hundred others were maimed and injured.
More background on this terrorist atrocity is available on this website: www.kerenmalki.org.
Fifteen year old Malki Roth, daughter of Frimet and Arnold Roth, was one of Tamimi’s victims. We received an email from Malki’s parents decrying the use of Tamimi’s glamour-shot publicity photo as a selling point for this HBO documentary. They write: “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…and the lives of so many.”
The Roth’s have requested that photos of Malki be made available — www.kerenmalki.org/photo.htm — so that at least some people will know of her and remember her: “Though she was only fifteen years old when her life was stolen from her and from us, we think Malki was a beautiful young woman, living a beautiful life.
To the best of our knowledge, no one from either the New York Times or HBO has apologized to the Roth family or any of the other victims, for using the smiling glamour “visage” of the evil and unrepentant murderer Ahlam Tamimi. Of course, “[w]ith so many voices demanding that Israel release its terrorist prisoners,” as the Roth’s put it in their email message, “small wonder she’s smiling.”