Equal treatment:
Arab parent praises Israeli special needs charity

Published: 23 October 2008
Briefing Number 223

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Keren Malki is an Israeli charity which supports Israeli families with special needs children (www.kerenmalki.org ).

The charity was established in 2001 in memory of 15 year old Chana Malka Roth. Chana Malka, who herself cared for a younger sibling with special needs, was killed by a Palestinian suicide bomber in the Sbarro pizzeria in central Jerusalem , together with 18 other Israelis.

In creating Keren Malki, Chana's parents, Arnold and Frimet Roth, sought to honor Chana Malka's message of “love, optimism and concern for children with special needs”.

Today Keren Malki supports thousands of Israeli families who wish to care for their special needs children in the environment of their home.

Below we set out the text of a letter written to Keren Malki by an Arab parent, and which was published in the charity's newsletter of July 2008.

“A year and a half ago, I decided to apply for assistance from Keren Malki. I looked at the website and began to read about the foundation and fill out applications.

I discovered that Keren Malki was established in memory of Chana Malka Roth who was killed by Palestinian terrorists in Jerusalem 's Sbarro restaurant. I stopped for a moment and hesitated, thinking about whether we would be approved for support – especially because we are Arabs.

A few weeks later, I was surprised to find out that Keren Malki is far more than what I had imagined. First, it does not differentiate between Jews and Arabs, between religions, between genders. On the contrary, it aids all children who need help and supports their parents, enabling them to help their children by funding three quarters of the cost of their paramedical treatments which for us means occupational therapy, speech therapy and therapeutic riding.

I am grateful to Keren Malki for the aid it has given me in funding my child's therapies. I have always been received warmly and my requests have been answered quickly. I always feel that I am being taken care of individually, and always have a good feeling when I am in contact with the staff. If only there were more funds like Keren Malki that know how to give in this manner. Keep up your work! Keep supporting and giving love and smiles to families that need it.

With respect and great esteem, AZ”

Beyond Images comments

Throughout the Israeli medical and health services system, Israeli Arabs receive care and support, as do thousands of Palestinian Arabs who reside in Gaza and the West Bank . See for example Beyond Images Briefings 110, 146, 197, 204, and 222. This letter to Keren Malki is another indication of this.

It is also significant, because Keren Malki's approach refutes the ‘cycle of violence' theory. Far from being caught up in a cycle of retribution, the Roth family has elevated the memory of their murdered daughter by making the world a better place for both Israel 's Arab and Jewish populations. It is simply untrue that the suffering which a family experiences necessarily causes that family to seek revenge (a claim which runs through Islamist ‘resistance' ideology). That personal suffering can also be a foundation on which to build hope, and to demonstrate the highest respect for human dignity.

Related Beyond Images materials:

See the Beyond Images homepage – Israel : Making The World a Better Place