First thing on the morning. From Ha’aretz, a mother of a terror victim laments an Israeli government funded documentary about Palestinian prisoners, especially terrorists, serving sentences in Israeli jails.

But Israel, in the throes of an existential war on terror, saw no reason to deny Ahlam Tamimi – the person who planned the Jerusalem terror massacre that killed my daughter – that privilege. She and dozens of other Palestinian terrorists were allowed to star in a documentary film that has sold out theaters.

Shimon Dotan, the Romanian-born former Israeli who made “Hot House,” says the Prisons Service freely admitted him to half a dozen prisons across Israel over the course of a year. The authorities deserve a “certificate of honor,” he says, for their permissiveness, adding: “It is difficult for me to say that, and I don’t want to brag about it.”

His film exposes astonishing aspects of life behind bars in Israel where convicted Palestinian terrorists enjoy country-club-like conditions. They all have access to Israeli and Palestinian radio, television and newspapers. Cells, shared with terror-group cronies, are equipped with their choice of colorful rugs and wall hangings. Cooking facilities allow them to indulge their personal culinary tastes. They enjoy bi-weekly family visits. They are free to hone their political skills, conduct internal elections and nurture their political careers. Prison garb is waived; women sport Islamic attire, down to the colorful silk scarves my daughter’s murderer favors. Prayer halls are available for the free practice of the very faith that inspired their crimes. And as the film points out, many of them earn, at the Israeli citizen’s expense, university degrees. In Israel, the death penalty is never applied to terrorists.

She concludes with a sad note, basically asking people not to see the film and to recognize its slant.

Consider one of the human beings they have chosen to profile: my daughter’s murderer. Dotan says he sat with her for two hours, having a “gripping” conversation. He asked whether she knew how many children had perished in the bombing of Sbarro. Smiling, as she generally does, she guessed “three.” “It was eight,” Dotan corrected her. She seemed delighted and smiled again, asking, “really?”

Dotan and his fellow producers are marketing this film aggressively throughout the world. If it hasn’t yet, “Hot House” will undoubtedly reach a theater near you soon. Before entering the building, please consider this:

You will be bringing this evil creature, Tamimi, untold pleasure. Dotan says she was keen to publicize her views.

You will pad the bank accounts of individuals who revile Israel.

And you may emerge convinced that this film conveys a balanced picture of the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A film without a single appearance by a victim of the terrorists. Not one photograph. Not even one name.

What is wrong with this world?

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  • Thanks for drawing attention to this issue.

    The parents of Malki Roth are trying to detract from the attention being given to the murderers in “Hot House” by focusing attention on the murdered, including their daughter Malki. One of the ways that they are doing so is by asking people to look at the pictures of Malki on their website. You can find out a bit about Malki including “Malki’s Song” and links to the website here:

  • I saw Hot House at Sundance in January 2007, and interviewed Shimon Dotan at SchmoozeDance that same week before the congregation at Temple Har Shalom in Park City, UTah. Jewlicious even published information on the film back in January.

    I found the documentary fascinating and important. The West Bank and Gaza are not going away. The imprisoned terrorists, for better or worse, are celebrities and leaders among Palestinians and are the future cadre of political leaders. Israel has the opportunity to use the prisons as a greenhouse for growing these leaders and nudging and changing their points of view towards coexistence.

    Yes, the mother of Ahlam Tamimi is upset by the film and the air time given to the leader of that homicidal attack. But I was glad that Dotan interviewed her. Viewer will see how evil the bombing mastermind was, and how she is more media savvy than many filmakers. She knows how to control how she is perceived and manupulate the interview. Yet we can see through her. She cares about no lives but only for her cause. Her politics control her every word and action. As a Palestinian newscaster, she used her position to plan the murders, to scout the Sbarro location, to recruit the murderer, to drive him to the location. You notice how she easily wore secular clothing on air, but dressed as an Islamist once she was incarcerated.

    This film is priceless for its portrayal of these killers. Yes, many will be shocked and upset that anyone would give them exposure, but reality is not pretty and the facts need to be faced and not warehoused behind barbed and razor wire fences.

  • JEWS ARE WIMPS! Kill them and they’ll treat you like kings. That’s why it was so easy for Hitler to kill so many of them!

  • My feeling is that we should encourage people to see this film, not because it humanizes a murderer, but because it shows that these prisoners are so well treated. This will take some wind out of the sail of those who accuse Israel of treating its prisoners horribly. Let people see the conditions under which these prisoners live. Let as big an audience as possible see that these prisoners can decorate their cells, have access to all media, good food, university courses, etc. What these filmmakers have done is inadvertently created a film showing Israel in a good light.

  • I really think Israel should have the death penalty for terrorists. There is no good reason for this woman to still be alive.

  • Or, if Israel is going to keep them alive, there is no good reason to give them this kind of red-carpet treatment.

  • I can understand the parents’ anger at the unjustness of the situation, but isn’t the film actually exposing the terrorists? While the parents are justifiably upset that the person who killed their daughter is alive and living well, wouldn’t the general impression on the moviegoer be that this is supremely unfair and intollerable, and that anyone smiling at killing children is demented?
    It’s hard to judge without seeing it, but I can’t imagine who besides Arabs would be sympathetic to these people, when shown in this light.

  • I’m getting the feeling that exposing the murderers was not the filmmaker’s objective. Notice how it’s being marketed.

  • Giyoret: One point of the post is that the film itself does not offer a balancing/framing awareness of the victims – the frame you now must fit the film into having read the post.

    Most people who see the film will see only the lionization of these terrorists – that is the internal visual/editorial language and message of the film.