Housing Minister Uri Ariel and Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked held a “model seder” in honor of Jonathan Pollard on Sunday morning, with a call for Israelis and Jews all over the world to place an empty seat at the seder table for Pollard, nearing three decades of imprisonment in the United States.
Joining Ariel and Shaked were the heads of most Knesset factions, along with MKs from the coalition and opposition. Among those participating were MKs Elazar Stern, Miki Levi, Avraham Michaeli, Robert Elituv, Nachman Shai, Ilan Galon, Yisrael Eichler, and Yariv Levin. All expressed deep solidarity with Pollard, who has been in an American prison for some 28 years. All expressed hope that he would be released as a “gesture” by the U.S. government in time for Passover, which begins Monday night.
“We say at the seder that each person is obligated to see himself as if he left Egypt,” Ariel said. “We call on the Israeli and Jewish public to remember the promise by former U.S. President Bill Clinton to free Pollard. This promise must be kept and implemented immediately. I call on you to leave an empty chair for Pollard as a way to remember him at the Seder,” he added,
Shaked, who heads the Knesset lobby for the release of Pollard, said that she was very moved at the support of MKs from across the political spectrum for the cause of Pollard's freedom. “I believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres must look at the people in this room and realize that there is no time to waste, not even a day. The issue of Pollard's freedom is in their hands,” said Shaked. “I also ask that American Jewry do what it can to free Pollard, and for the President not to harden his heart, and to free Jonathan.”