Daily Israel Report

For Pollard: Classes, Prayers, Visits and Hunger Strike

On November 21, 2004, the 8th day of Kislev, Jonathan Pollard will begin his 20th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for "passing classified information to an ally" - Israel.
First Publish: 11/9/2004, 3:26 PM / Last Update: 11/9/2004, 5:24 PM

On November 21, 2004, the 8th day of Kislev, Jonathan Pollard will begin his 20th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison for "passing classified information to an ally" - Israel. A group of leading Israelis rabbis is calling upon all teachers and rabbis to deliver, in the coming days, "lectures and special classes on the subjects of pidyon shvuyim [redemption of captives] and Jewish responsibility for one and other, and to dedicate them in the merit of Jonathan Pollard (Yehonatan ben Malka) and his speedy redemption."

The rabbis further call upon all pulpit rabbis on the Sabbath preceding the Nov. 21 anniversary - the week of Torah portion "Vayetze" - to devote their sermons to these subjects, dedicated in the merit of Jonathan Pollard.

Among the signatory rabbis are Rabbis Mordechai Eliyahu, Avraham Shapira, Shlomo Aviner, Yisrael Ariel, Yaakov Ariel, Yoel Bin-Nun, Mordecai Greenberg, and dozens of others - including former Prisoner of Zion Yosef Mendelovitch of Machon Meir, who recently told a pro-Pollard rally,
"The American Jewish community at the time helped obtain my freedom, but this time, it is a mark of shame for the American Jewish community that it has abandoned their brother. They have influence, but they are ignoring him. There is only a small group of rabbis who are working for him, but the World Jewish Congress and the Conference of Presidents and the rest of the establishment are afraid of being accused of dual loyalty... This is another Dreyfuss trial, but the difference is that then non-Jews arose to help, [while now many Jews are ignoring it]. Pollard is truly a hero of all humanity, in that he warned of dangers that were threatening the entire world."

Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger visited Pollard in his prison cell last week, and Pollard told him, "Israel has abandoned me, but I have not abandoned Israel. No one can harm my love for the Land of Israel." IDF Chief Rabbi Brig.-Gen. Rabbi Yisrael Weiss visited Pollard earlier this month. The visits were coordinated by Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President of the National Council of Young Israel. A friend of Rabbi Metzger from their yeshiva days at Yeshivat Kerem B'Yavneh, Rabbi Lerner recently requested that the Chief Rabbi compose a special prayer on Pollard's behalf; the prayer can be seen here.

Eli Joseph, a long-time "concerned citizen" on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, is beginning a 100-day hunger strike, in protest of the Israeli government's "lack of action" on behalf of Pollard and Raoul Wallenberg. Joseph has held at least two previous hunger-strikes for Pollard, including one for five months in the year 2000.

Joseph, a former school principal from Maaleh Adumim, told Arutz-7 that the 100 days will mark "one day for each thousand Jews saved by Wallenberg." A Swedish diplomat during World War II who was later deemed by Israel to be a "Righteous Gentile," Wallenberg used his diplomatic privileges to save over 100,000 Hungarian Jews during the Holocaust. Click here for details. Just days after the Soviet army liberated Hungary from the Nazis, the Russians arrested Wallenberg - and he was never seen again.

"It's a disgrace that more is not done for people who did so much for the People of Israel," Joseph said today. "I'm talking about the 60-year abandonment of Wallenberg, and the 19-year abandonment of Jonathan Pollard."