|Ambassador of Australia Chris Cannan with Yair Nitzani
and Arnold Roth
Ori's father spoke movingly at an event honouring the Malki Foundation at the official residence of Australia's ambassador to Israel on a warm evening recently. Ambassador Chris Cannan, a staunch supporter of the foundation's work, was the generous host. Guests were entertained by the talented Yair Nitzani, one of Israel's best-known television and music industry figures.
In his words to those present, Ori's father expressed gratitude to the Malki Foundation for understanding the needs of the family and for funding Ori's therapies, all while allowing them to make the choices of what is best for their son.
Among the guests were Doron Shalit, Chief Executive of GSK Israel; Dr. Itzhak Siev-Ner of Israel's Ministry of Health; Nadav Tamir from the Peres Center, and Dan Krasnostein, a Square Peg Capital partner.
Speaking afterwards, Malki Foundation chairman Arnold Roth said: "It's a privilege to provide non-sectarian support via equipment and therapies, as we have for nearly 18 years, and to do it in the name of our loved and greatly missed child. We made aliyah from Australia where my daughter Malki and I were both born. Ambassador Cannan has been terrific in the interest he takes in the Malki Foundation's work and in his public expressions of support."
Haaretz: Honoring Malki Roth and her legacy
The Malki Foundation has for nearly 18 years carried on the legacy of Malki Roth, who had been dedicated to caring for her severely disabled sister and also volunteered to help children with special needs before being killed in a terror attack in Jerusalem in 2001. Last week, Australia’s ambassador to Israel, Chris Cannan, hosted a reception at his residence to honor the foundation. “Australian culture famously has an in-built sympathy for the underdog, which in our case means families battling to get Israel’s health system to stand with them as they face the challenges of a child’s profound disabilities,” said Malki’s father, Arnold Roth, who like his daughter was born in Melbourne. “The struggle is far harder than people not directly involved usually realize. It’s a privilege to provide nonsectarian support via equipment and therapies — as we have for nearly 18 years — and to do it in the name of our loved and greatly missed child.”
Source: Rank and File/Steven Klein | Haaretz | May 17, 2019Jerusalem Post: Movers and shakers in Israeli society
Musician, songwriter, radio and television broadcaster, actor and comedian Yair Nitzani has a soft spot for children with special needs. So when asked to appear on behalf of the Malki Foundation, which helps families with severely affected special needs children to keep them at home in a loving family environment rather than have them placed in an institution, he readily agreed. The event was held at the residence of Australian Ambassador Chris Cannan.
Under the circumstances, Nitzani asked whether he should speak in English or Hebrew. Though it would not have made much difference to most of the guests, in deference to the host, Nitzani spoke in English, apologizing that his English is not so good, because it was learned in his youth, not in the classroom but from songs on the hit parade. “So if I say: ‘She loves you yeah, yeah, yeah,’ you know where it came from.”
His whole routine was gently self-deprecating from start to finish. Introduced in superlatives by Malki Foundation co-founder Arnold Roth, Nitzani said that no one had ever spoken about him so nicely. He had been a very bad student, he said, adding that when the teacher came to class and said: “Good morning, children,” her next sentence was: “Yair, out!”
He gave some examples of why she had that attitude toward him, leaving little doubt about what a cheeky boy he’d been. One day, he was called to the principal’s office, where it was suggested to him that he leave of his own initiative. The principal was reluctant to actually expel him, but made it clear that there was no point in him staying at school, because “no good will come of you.”
One day, several years later, Nitzani was walking down the street with his daughter, when he was hailed by a woman whom he did not recognize. She told him that the principal was retiring and that a book with messages from former pupils of the school was being prepared in his honor. She asked Nitzani to write a few lines of appreciation. Nitzani declined, and when she asked why, he told her that he could hardly do that after the principal had told him that nothing would become of him. That prediction had accompanied him throughout his life. “He would never say such a thing,” responded the woman. Curious as to how she could be so adamant, Nitzani asked: “Who are you?” “I’m his wife,” was the reply.
One of Nitzani’s comedy gimmicks is a regular faucet with a suction cup on the back, enabling him to stick it temporarily to any surface, including his head. He had never attended university, he said, but when he was asked to appear at an event at the University of Haifa, there was some dithering over payment. His compromise solution was for the university to give him a degree instead of the money. And sure enough, he projected onto the video screen a photograph of himself in academic cap and gown, flanked by the university’s powers that be. The one thing that suggested that perhaps it might be fake news was the faucet on Nitzani’s forehead. It somehow did not jive with the solemnity of the occasion. But according to Nitzani, he gave his citation to his 93-year-old mother.
One of Nitzani’s favorite games with the faucet is when cars stop at a traffic light. Drivers and passengers have a habit of turning their heads to see what is going on in the vehicle alongside. When Nitzani sees a husband and wife in the vehicle in the next lane, the wife is the one usually staring into his car. He puts the faucet on the top of his bald head and when the wife turns excitedly to her husband to tell him that there’s a man in the next car with a faucet springing out of his head, Nitzani quickly removes it, so that when the husband looks, all he sees is an ordinary male driver. The husband then berates the wife and tells her that she’s hallucinating.
The faucet, which was given to him by his brother, became an important branding and marketing tool when he was part of the T-Slam band in the 1980s. The guitarist and the singer were in front, and Nitzani, who was the keyboard instrumentalist, was in the back and could hardly be seen. The first time that the band was on television, Nitzani, out of the blue, decided to put the faucet on his head. The upshot was that he’s the only person seen in the promotional film clip. The faucet has served him well ever since...
Malki’s youngest sister, Haya, had been born a perfectly normal child, but was brain-damaged through being wrongly treated in hospital, said her father, Arnold Roth. The doctors had suggested to Roth and his wife, Frimet, that they not take Chaya home, because she would never progress. They were appalled at the idea of abandoning their child to the care of strangers, believing that what she needed most was to be in the bosom of her family, and to receive therapeutic care from professionals who came to their home. With the passage of time they discovered that many parents with special needs children shared this belief, but did not always have sufficient funds to enable such an arrangement. Malki adored Chaya, and gave her a great amount of attention, so it was only natural, when the Roths wanted to memorialize her, that they should come up with something that symbolized Malki’s love and care for Chaya.
The Malki Foundation subsidizes the expense of paramedical therapeutic care selected by the child’s family, provides specialized equipment on loan for rehabilitation in the home, and sends paramedical therapists to housebound children with special needs as well as to those who live in peripheral areas.
Cannan said that he is happy to be associated with organizations such as the Malki Foundation, “because in Australia we take disability seriously and recognize the need to care for special needs children in the home.” The other reason for his attachment to the Malki Foundation is that Malki Roth was born in Australia and came to Israel as an Australian citizen.