Keren Malki, the Malki Foundation, a non-political,
non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization, honors the
tragically short life of a girl dedicated to bringing
happiness and support into the lives of special-needs
At United Nations symposium on terror victims, Malki's life is
[Click on the image above to view the UN
webcast of Arnold Roth's 9th September 2008 speech.]
The Israeli newspaper
Haaretz reported that "the United Nations General Assembly had
never before heard such a speech."
The reference is to the fact that Keren
Malki co-founder Arnold Roth was one of eighteen international
speakers invited to address a special all-day discussion at United
Nations headquarters the previous day. The subject was terrorism and
its victims, and the event was widely covered by the global media.
As the voice of Israel's victims of terror, Arnold chose to speak
directly to, and about, his daughter Malki. Her murder seven years
earlier was the reason why he and his wife Frimet created Keren
The text of his speech to the nations of
the UN is below.
Speech of Arnold Roth to the United Nations Secretary-General’s
Symposium on Supporting Victims of Terrorism, New York - 9th
Until the Secretary-General's invitation
reached me, I never imagined having the extraordinary privilege to
speak from this place and to invoke international solidarity while
raising my voice in condemnation of terrorism and in support of the
campaign against it.
don't know a more fitting way to reflect (using the words of your
invitation) on the human face of the consequences of terrorism than
to speak about my daughter.
Malki, my child. Your life ended in a
crowded pizza restaurant filled with mothers and children in the
center of Jerusalem, the capital city of our country.
Your school holidays were nearly over.
You spent them by helping children with special needs, children with
disabilities, to enjoy their summer. The pleasure you gained from
simple, practical, concrete actions to help others was reflected in
the way you looked. The loveliest aspect of your pretty, optimistic
face was the smile that almost always adorned it.
And then a young man, not very different
in his external appearance from other young men but burning with an
inner religious passion to maim and hurt and kill, walked into that
restaurant. Unlike today, there was no security guard on duty at the
entrance. In those simpler times, we still had not realized the
depths to which hatred and intolerance can take a man or a woman.
As a talented musician yourself, you
might have noticed him walk alone into the pizza restaurant with a
guitar case on his back. Perhaps you were thinking that here was a
person capable of bringing pleasure to others, as you yourself so
often did. But he was not that sort of person.
Acting in the name of a cause in which
he had been instructed to believe, the terrorist
the package on his back. He had no intention of taking strategic
control of the pizza restaurant. He did not ask for political
concessions from our family, and not even from our government.
and the 130 others who were maimed and murdered by his exploding
guitar case were not collateral damage. You were not caught in any
cross-fire. You and the other children and mothers were precisely
the target of that man and of those who sent him. You were 15 years
Malki, your mother and brothers and
sisters and I, your community and your nation can never comprehend
hatred and intolerance as vicious and powerful as those that ended
We learned from your smile. We were
inspired by your love of helping children with disabilities. We
established the Malki Foundation in your memory. It gives practical,
concrete support to families from every part of Israel's social
spectrum - Christians, Jews, Moslems, Druze and others. The more
than 2,000 families we have helped in these past few years have in
common one thing only: the passion to help their special-needs
Like you, the Malki Foundation has no
politics. Like you, it optimistically celebrates life, tolerance,
the human spirit.
Dozens, hundreds, of other Israeli
families who have suffered like us have responded by following the
ancient tradition of the Jewish people: when something truly awful
enters our lives, we undertake actions that we intend to be
constructive and life-affirming.
This does not stop the terrorists. They
keep coming. And we know that we absolutely must remain constantly
vigilant against them by every possible means.
These personal, positive, humanitarian
actions give us a moral basis for continuing our lives. For getting
out of bed each morning. For going on after the most unthinkable,
Your death, Malki, and our pain were not
the end of the struggle to stop the terrorists. They are not even
the beginning of the end. Today, terrorism infects nearly every
corner of the world. It belongs no less to the present and to the
future than to the past.
The challenge to the nations is
to find and adopt policies that will end it.
The challenge to individuals, to
the victims who endure terrorism, is to find and adopt ways to
survive the evil of the perpetrators of terrorism. To reaffirm our
humanity, our dignity, our generosity, and our optimism.
United Nations, 9 September 2008 -
Victims of terrorist attacks gathered in New York on 9 September
2008 for the first-ever United Nations event designed to give
them a voice. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged Governments to
draw on the survivors courage and strength to bolster
international cooperation in support of victims and their
families, and in implementing agreed counter-terrorism measures.