me please to speak to you about money.
This building, this organization,
Yad Sarah, which is hosting us today and which agreed to the joint venture with
Keren Malki that we are launching today, draws its strength from the spirit of
volunteers. But while it is the spirit of volunteerism and
enables it to deliver services so effectively, money is essential to its
I am going to spend three minutes talking about money. I hope you will
quickly see why.
precisely this hour, three weeks ago, I sat in a luxurious office building
Brussels, at the headquarters of the European Commission. The European Commission,
more than any other body in the world, provides money to the Palestinian
Authority. The European Commission has been criticized in the past year
for ignoring the ways in which its money seems to have been diverted from
the declared humanitarian goals which motivate it. In fact, there is very
good reason to believe that this European money has ended up fattening –
directly or indirectly – the personal bank accounts of certain wealthy
individuals in Ramallah, in
Gaza and in
of Europe’s most influential news magazines, Die Zeit, published a
lengthy and detailed expose seven months ago under the title “Arafat
Bombt, Europa Zahlt“ - in English: “Arafat Bombs, Europe Pays”.
This article had a strong effect on a handful of European Parliamentarians
who called for an inquiry into the way European grant money is being spent
by the Palestinian Arabs. But no inquiry has yet taken place.
man who hosted that
Brussels meeting three weeks ago is a senior official in the process of
transferring money to the PA. In our meeting, I told him I was sure he
would have personally devoted more time, more energy and more seriousness
to checking out an investment in a private holiday flat than he is
devoting to checking what happens when the European money he sends reaches
the PA’s bank account. I said that the Israel Defence Forces have
published clear evidence that such money pays the salaries of terrorists
like those who committed the massacre in the Sbarro
responded to me politely. He said we Israelis should not have this concern
because all transfers of money from his office to the PA are done under
the supervision of the International Monetary Fund inWashington. For those who are interested, I have brought here today an extract from
a letter written to the Wall Street Journal by one of the IMF’s most
senior executives in which he writes: “The IMF does not monitor foreign
assistance to the PA.”
clear public denial by the IMF did not prevent the European Commission’s
Christopher Patten from saying a few weeks ago that he wants the issue investigated "like
a hole in the head."
with some friends, I am about to send a letter to the European Parliament
pointing out to them that if they are less right than they think they are,
we Israelis are going to continue to pay a very heavy price for their
recklessness and indifference.
are two ideas behind
is to remember a beautiful teenage girl with a heart of gold and with a
wonderfully promising future that was stolen from her by barbarians and
evil men and women. We
promised ourselves in August 2001 that we would do everything possible so
that Malka Chana’s murder did not become simply another statistic.
second idea is to do practical things so that families who want to give
the best to their children with severe disabilities can do so in the best
place possible: at home. The establishment of
Yechidat Keren Malki is the important first step. We will try to learn from our experiences
Jerusalem over the next months and year, and expand the activity across
Israel. There will of course be no discrimination between Jewish families and
Arab families or any other families. This is not a political statement but
simply a human one.
For reasons which are known to you, my
family and I have had to consider some very difficult questions which are
on the minds of many Israelis: “What is the right response to terror?”
“How should decent people react to the evil acts of men?”
I don’t know. I wish I had the
confidence and clarity of vision of some of the journalists I have met
over the past sixteen months. They have asked me about things they call
the “cycle of violence”, the “terror and counter-terror” and the
“mutual hatred between two peoples”. Their questions tell me
they see us Israelis and the barbarians who destroy our restaurants and
buses and bedrooms as being two sides of one coin. They see no
It’s clear to me that our response
as a family, and
Israel’s response as a nation, is to be selfish – to focus on our needs, on
our safety, on our future. If only the people on the other side of the
border would think in a similar way. But that’s not the current reality,
and therefore we must do everything in our power to remain strong and
selfish. Only if we do can we expect to weather this terrible storm.
Money, as we all know, is a key
ingredient of evil. But it can also do a great deal of good. If we were
not able to focus on doing something constructive, then I’m afraid
depression and hopelessness would paralyze us. If we can succeed in
continuing to raise money from good people all over the world, we have a
chance to change things that need to be changed. Not everything – since
there are some things can never be changed. But certain practical things.
Malki wrote a letter to the editors of
“Exceptional Parent”, an American magazine, when she was eleven years
old. A copy is here on the table. She gave it this title: Never Lose
Her message was meant to be about her sister Hayale and the challenge
facing our family and families like ours to keep going, to keep pushing.
Of course, standing here and looking
back on what has happened, it has a completely different meaning for us
The establishment of
Yechidat Keren Malki
is something Malki would understand and appreciate. She was practical,
empathetic and concerned. Whenever she could, she accompanied Frimet on
her visits to hospitals and institutions. Frimet reminded me this morning
of how this allowed Malki to observe how special-needs children are
treated – the positives and the negatives. Malki’s personal response
to these experiences was a practical one – as a volunteer and as someone
who took every opportunity to express her love and her concern for those
with special needs.
A final word again about the people I
Brussels. 2003 has been declared the European Year of People with Disabilities.
Declarations and headlines are important, but only when they are a
prelude to action. In partnering with
Sarah, we know that actions and not headlines are what drives this place and
these people. The values of hesed, tzedakah and tzedek which we were
privileged to see in Malki’s life and actions are the strength behind
Malki. This is a powerful force. I intend to remind the politicians
of this Israeli force when I send them my letter.
Thank you for being here today and for
honoring the work of
with your presence.