Twenty years after the infamous Sbarro's Pizza bombing in Jerusalem, the family of Malki Roth thinks back to the day they lost their daughter.
"It was completely out of the blue," says Arnold Roth, Malki's father. "I came back from lunch to a phone call from my wife. She screamed into the phone 'There's been an attack, I can't reach the children", and hung up."
"Malki was full of life and a leader in her youth movement. She was a remarkable person, whose whole life was about doing good. Losing her was unbearable," Roth said in an interview with Arutz Sheva.
Roth also related to Ahlam Ahmad al-Tamimi, one of those responsible for the bombing, who was released in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in 2011. "She arrived as a hero in Jordan", Roth said.
"Al-Tamimi was given a television show which ran for five years, five years of injecting venom into the minds and hearts of the Jordanian public. She is a celebrity simply because she can stand before a crowd and say 'I killed Zionist children, and even the Zionists agree that I should be free.' We made tremendous efforts to convince the government that her release was wrong, but, obviously, we failed."
Arnold Roth described some of the family's efforts against the terrorist: "Malki had US citizenship, so we were able to approach the Department of Justice for assistance. The result was that five full years later, charges were announced, and it has been a real battle since. Tamimi faces criminal charges in the United States but is safely harbored in Jordan. Until Jordan honors its extradition treaty with the United States - a treaty in effect since 1995 - she will remain beyond the reach of justice and a hero to the Arab world."
Roth says that all these years later, Israel's dealing with terror leaves something to be desired. "The question of terror is a complicated one, and Israel doesn't come out of it scot-free at all - after all, Israel handed over 1027 terrorists, more than half of them convicted of murder, to recover Gilad Shalit. The textbook on how to deal with terror was written by a prominent Israeli named Netanyahu, in the 1990s, saying to never negotiate with terrorists, saying that it will only fuel their appetites. Faced with the actual situation, though, he did the very opposite of what he said to do."
Roth added that even twenty years later, he and his wife Frimet work to keep their daughter's memory alive.
"It was immediately clear to us that the most important thing is not to let her memory fade, not to let her become a statistic," he explains. "We started the Malki Foundation, formally, on what would become known as 9/11. We help families raising children with special needs, with no regard for the family's politics or outlooks on life. We have a child with special needs in our family, and it became painfully clear how much Malki was absolutely the heart of our efforts to give that child a normal life. We hope to continue that spirit of giving in her memory."