"When the heart of one Jew beats with pain, the hearts of all the multitudes feel it as well.”
It is Pesach ~ Passover this week, the celebration of Israel's Childrens Freedom from Captivity. But, this Pesach there is a Child of Israel who remains in Captivity. Jonathan Pollard is an American-born Israeli citizen currently in the 27th year of a life sentence in an American prison for his activities on behalf of the security of the State of Israel. The median sentence for the offence Pollard committed ~ one count of passing classified information to an ally ~ is 2 to 4 years. Yet Pollard remains unjustly incarcerated. Pollard received his life sentence without a trial, as a result of a plea bargain which he honoured and the U.S. government violated. Esther Pollard is his wife.
Jonathan Pollard was a civilian American Naval intelligence analyst. In the mid 1980's he discovered that information vital to Israel's security was being deliberately withheld by certain elements within the U.S. national security establishment. Israel was legally entitled to this vital security information according to a 1983 Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. The information being withheld from Israel included Syrian, Iraqi, Libyan and Iranian nuclear, chemical, and biological warfare capabilities being developed for use against Israel. It also included information on ballistic missile development by these countries and information on planned terrorist attacks against Israeli civilian targets. When Pollard discovered this suppression of information and asked his superiors about it, he was told to "mind his own business", and that "Jews get nervous talking about poison gas; they don't need to know" !!!!!!!!
He also learned that the objective of cutting off the flow of information to Israel was to severely curtail Israel's ability to act independently in defence of her own interests. Israeli lives were being put in jeopardy as a result of this undeclared intelligence embargo. He did everything he possibly could to stop this covert policy and to have the legal flow of information to Israel restored. When his efforts met no success, he began to give the information to Israel directly. Jonathan Pollard was an ideologue, not a mercenary. The FBI concluded after nine months of polygraphing that Pollard acted for ideological reasons only, not for profit. This fact was recognized by the sentencing judge who declined to fine Pollard. Furthermore, on May 11th, 1998, Israel formally acknowledged Jonathan Pollard had been a bona fide Israeli agent. This fact wiped out any doubt about Jonathan Pollard's motives. Being an official agent is, by definition, the polar opposite of being a mercenary.
In 1985, his actions were discovered by the U.S. government. His instructions from Israel were to seek refuge in the Israeli embassy in Washington. Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. At the request of both the U.S. and Israeli governments, he entered into a plea agreement, which spared both governments a long, difficult, expensive and potentially embarrassing trial. Jonathan Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution. evertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled ~ in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the American government!!
Jonathan Pollard was indicted on only one charge .... one count of passing classified information to an ally, without intent to harm the United States. Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for harming the United States. Jonathan Pollard was never indicted for compromising codes, agents, or war plans. Jonathan Pollard was never charged with treason, a charge that is only applicable when one spies for an enemy state in time of war. Five Prime Ministers of Israel and three Presidents of Israel have requested Jonathan Pollard's release from the United States. Israel has pledged to be responsible for its agent who has served many years in prison under harsh conditions, and who has fully and repeatedly expressed his remorse. The Inescapable conclusion is that Jonathan remains incarcerated because he is a Jew!!
Jonathan Pollard was admitted to a hospital in North Carolina early last Friday, erev Shabbos, after suffering from extreme pain for days. Pollard, now 57, was last hospitalized in August last year for emergency kidney surgery and this latest illness has been described as "life-threatening". Escorted by MKs Uri Ariel and Ronit Tirosh, Mrs. Esther Pollard on Sunday afternoon first day chol hamoed Pesach in Eretz Yisrael met with President Shimon Peres in his official residence. Mrs. Pollard made an impassioned plea to the president to act on behalf of Jonathan, who remains in critical condition. “I don’t want to be a widow” Mrs. Pollard was quoted as telling the President, who promised the issue of her husband’s release will remain atop of his list of priorities with the United States. Israel's Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi Yonah Metzger called upon Jews around the world to pray during the Passover holiday for the health and freedom of Pollard, whose Hebrew name is Yehonatan Ben-Malka. Please do remember him this Pesach. Our Festival of Freedom.
It is not enough for Israel's leaders to say to America "Let Pollard Go!", as it was not enough for Moshe Rabbeniu to say to Pharoah "Let my People Go!". The Mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim is to bring about the release of any Jew held captive by the Goyim. And Talmud declares it a “Mitzvah rabbah”, a great mitzvah, as captivity in the goy world is viewed as even worse than starvation and death (Bava Batra 8b). Pollard has served his sentence & then some. We need to demand his immediate release without condition.
Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt''l said that Moshiach cannot come as long as Pollard is in jail he either has to be freed or he has to die (chas v'shalom) before the Geulah can occur .... ''Rabbi Eliyahu visited Jonathan Pollard in prison on most of his visits to the US. Rabbi Eliyahu held that Jonathan's release is also the key to the release of all of Israel's captives and MIAs. Once Jonathan is out, all the captives are all out! Once they are all out, we are all in Redemption! In the same way that Joseph's name became Yehoseph, Joseph with an additional ה, Rabbi Eliyahu wanted for Jonathan Pollard to change his name from Jonathan, יונתן, to Yehonatan, יהונתן, with an additional ה. And indeed in Rabbi Eliyahu's study, Jonathan was referred to as Yehonatan.''
Please Pray over Pesach for Yehonatan Ben-Malka for a Refuah Shlema and his long overdue Release.