Treats for terrorists come at a price

Earlier this week, I read [here] that the parents of Oron Shaul were incensed by the recent upgrade of prison conditions for around 3,500 Hamas terrorists. Oren, an IDF soldier killed during the 2014 Israel–Gaza conflict, was at first said by Hamas to have been taken prisoner. The terrorists then demanded a ransom to return the body to the soldier’s family. The Shauls are victims of a very cruel squeeze.

The perks that incensed them include a reported increase from three to seven television channels in the convicted terrorists’ prison cells.

There is an egregious inaccuracy in this news report which makes me wonder just how many other erroneous “facts” we are being fed by our government through the media.

Because, the truth is that the number of TV stations permitted to security prisoners is, and has been for some time, not three but 33. Yes 33!

My husband and I learned this in June 2016 from the official spokesman for the Israel Prison Service. His assistant eventually provided us with the detailed list of specific TV stations, selected from the 33, to which security prisoners at specific prisons (the selection varies – typically about a dozen at any given prison) have access.

Some of you may be curious as to why we posed that question to the IPS spokesman in the first place. So, to clear that up, I will re-cap the activities of our child’s murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, before and since her release in the Shalit Deal five years ago.

A Hamas operative who selected Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant as her target, Tamimi also transported the 10 kg. explosives package into Jerusalem, met up with the human bomb who transferred the package to a guitar case he slung over his shoulder. Then, disguised as tourists, the pair proceeded across downtown Jerusalem until Tamimi deposited her “weapon” at the restaurant door.

Before parting, she explicitly instructed him to wait fifteen minutes before detonating so that she could make a safe getaway.

That evil woman now spends her days inciting others to terror. At times, she does so on well-publicized lecture tours in various Arab countries which have included Qatar, Libya, Tunisia, Lebanon, Kuwait and Yemen.

When she isn’t flying freely around Arabia, she incites and inspires her fans  via her weekly Al Quds TV program “Naseem Al Ahrar” (translation: “Breezes of the Free”).

Her target audience is imprisoned Palestinian terrorists and their families and friends all of whom she claims are regular viewers. Messages, photos and video clips are relayed on the program to and from the prisoners.

We could not believe that our prison authorities would enable exposure of convicted terrorists behind Israeli bars to such blatant incitement. So we contacted its spokesman and learned that, while Al Quds is not one of the authorized TV stations, prisoners might very well be watching Tamimi’s program via their smartphones.

Smartphones?” I asked in disbelief. The spokesperson conceded that while phones are banned in prison, officers are unable to enforce that entirely and phones are known to be smuggled in.

OMG, I thought. That lame excuse just doesn’t ring true; smartphones aren’t exactly needles in a haystack.

What does sound credible is the explanation attributed to someone who works in the system. He explained that the prison authority’s policy is to appease terrorists to ensure quiet and calm. Smartphones seem to be a handy vehicle to achieve that end.

That official list of 33 TV stations came to us with this caveat:

The stations are carefully selected and, as much as is possible, are supervised; in cases where content is tainted with incitement the matter is dealt with and the station is removed.”

Hmmm, “as much as is possible”? Do the authorities manage to watch all the programs on offer on all 33 stations? Well, I suppose if they never sleep at all, perhaps…

The bottom line is that a mass murderer of sixteen innocent Jews, including eight children — one of them our Malki — is freely inciting terrorists incarcerated in Israel’s prisons.  And as we know, Netanyahu could, if he chose to, rectify this outrageous state of affairs with the wave of his prime ministerial wand.

About the Author
A Jerusalem-based freelance writer, law graduate and commentator on the challenges facing people with special needs, Frimet Roth together with her husband Arnold co-founded The Malki Foundation ( in 2001. It provides concrete support for Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child. The Roths' daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the terrorist bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria. Her personal blog, under the title "The Good, The Bad, The Ugly", is at The views expressed here are personal.
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