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Miri Eisen

Ahlam Tamimi

Sbarro Pizza restaurant

Miri Eisen
Isaac Gutwilik



by Rhonda Spivak, November 6, 2011

Col. (Ret.)Miri Eisin, is of the view that the price paid for the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for the release of over 1000 Palestinian convicts, was high, but it will not" ultimately change the ongoing terrorist infrastructure" faced by Israel or appreciably raise the risk of terror attacks against Israel. This is the case in her opinion because 'not a single mastermind of terror was released', but rather “foot soldiers" who carried out the attacks. Masterminds of terror could always find other foot soldiers, even if these foot soldiers had not been released, Eisen suggested.
Eisen, a very capable speaker born in America, and a mother of three who has served as a spokesperson for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert during the Second War in Lebanon, is currently a lecturer at the  IDC Herzliya and gives briefings/tours to diplomats and foreign media in Jerusalem and elsewhere. She was brought to Winnipeg by Shelley Faintuch of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg and CIJA, and spoke to about 125 people in the lounge of the Shaarey Zedek Synagogue Thursday evening, Oct. 27. She also spoke to about 65 students, of different backgrounds at a Kabbalat Shabbat on October 28 at Faintuch's home, as well as speaking to high school students at a separate time..
Eisen noted that as a spokesperson for the Israeli government she often had the difficult task of navigating between contradictory positions and statements made by Knesst members such as Ami Ayalon (on the left) and Avigdor Leiberman (on the right), who were both in the same government although they had very differing views. "That is the nature of a coalition government," she said.
Eisen spent much of her talk outlining various aspects of the Shalit deal in a detailed and comprehensive way. Although she supported the deal, she was also was sensitive of the high price paid. She told a story of how during a talk she gave, the father of an officer who was killed in a tank in the incident when Shalit was first kidnapped in 2006, walked out of her talk. She didn't know what his personal story was at the time. He later told her, "I hope for Noam Shalit that his son comes home. My son didn't."
According to Eisen, the Shalit deal was a decision that she was “based on the heart, and the Jewish value of life" (—when you save a life you save the world) which other states may find difficult to understand. It was a decision one which in the end only three members of the government disagreed with,(including former IDF Chief of Staff Moshe Ya'alon) and which a majority of Israelis agreed with.
“We showed a heart and a value that that was very Jewish," Eisen said."I love to live in a place where the government makes a decision from the heart", she said.
According to Eisen, one of the worst terrorists released, in Eisen' eyes, was female terrorist Ahlam Tamimi , who was responsible for carrying out the suicide bombing attack at the Sbarro Pizza restaurant on the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, murdering15 people and injuring 130. Eisen outlined how Tamimi, a female, had first proven her worth to Hamas by leaving a can on a shelf in a Jerusalem grocery store near the Kings Hotel, which exploded after she had left.

Tamimi, was convicted as an accessory to murder for escorting a Palestinian male suicide bomber to the Sbarro Pizza restaurant, and for helping to plan the attack. According to Eisen, Tamimi took special care to ensure that the suicide bomber wore jeans (like Jewish Israelis do) and not slacks, and even bleached his hair so he would not appear to be a Palestinian. Tamimi disguised herself as a Jewish tourist, and after the attack walked back to the Old City.


She was sentenced to 15 life sentences, and according to Eisen, became even more devoted while in prison to jihad, an Islamic religious holy war. In an interview she gave a year ago, Tamimie told a journalist from the Centre for Near East Policy and Research that she chose the Sbarro restaurant because it was frequented by 'religious Jews." [ To see a videotape of that interview, click here: ]
After being released in the Shalit deal, Eisen noted that Tamimi gave an interview [which was later posted on the Internet as translated by MEMRI] in which she stated:
"I do not regret what happened. Absolutely not! This is the path. I dedicated myself to Jihad for the sake of Allah, and Allah granted me success. You know how many casualties there were? [in the 2001 attack on the Sbarro pizzeria]. This was made possible by Allah. Do you want me to denounce what I did? That's out of the question. I would do it again today, and in the same manner."
Tamimi, who is completely unrepentant, also has said that she looks forward to getting married and having many children who will grow up to be shahidim (martyrs for the cause), said Eisen.
Prior to Tamimi's release, the parents of one of her victims made a desperate last-minute appeal to Israel's Supreme Court to keep her in prison
As Eisen noted, Tamimi on being released was sent into exile in Jordan. She and 99 other convicts who were released in the Shalit deal were sent wither to Jordan or Egypt. Esien pointed out “For a Palestinian, being sent to Jordan, Syria or Egypt is the worst punishment they could get" as they can't go home back to their family.
"Jordan and Syria have no interest in allowing terrorist actions by Palestinians on their soil, ”Eisen added.
Eisen also said that the current unrest in Syria was a significant factor in Hamas’s decision to release Shalit, because Hamas is backed by Syria and Hamas doesn’t know what’s going to happen there.
"They are talking of having to move their headquarters from Damascus to Khartoum in Sudan," as Assad's regime could fall. Thus, Hamas was interested in boosting its popularity among its people, by agreeing to the Shalit deal.
 The military regime in Egypt also had an interest in brokering the deal and asserting itself as a leader in the Arab world.
Although Eisen focused on the Shalit deal extensively in her talk, she did not comment on the consequences of the deal which has bolstered Hamas, or the fact that PA President Abas is now demanding the release of further Fatah prisoners in order to bols
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.