Thousands Say 'Sorry' to Pollard

Thousands of people in Israel and around the world are asking forgiveness from Jonathan Pollard during the Days of Repentance.

Maayana Miskin ,

Jonathan Pollard
Jonathan Pollard
Israel news photo: (file)

In the days before Yom Kippur, known as the days of repentance, Jews have the custom of asking forgiveness from any person they have wronged over the course of the past year. This year, in what may be the largest group apology of its kind, thousands of Jews from Israel and around the world are coming together to ask forgiveness of one man – Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard has served 24 years of a life sentence in prison in the United States for passing classified security-related information to Israel. His supporters say the sentence is unjust and is much harsher than the sentences given even to those who spied on the U.S. on behalf of enemy states.

Israelis who signed a letter which will be sent to Pollard in the near future asked Pollard's forgiveness on their government's behalf, for its failure to take action to have him released. “We are ashamed that after you have suffered for 24 years in an American prison, our government still ignores you, and does not make even the minimum effort towards an Israeli agent who acted on the state's behalf and for the state's security,” they said.

"We promise that from now on, we will not rest or be silent until the day that we greet you and your wife Esther at the airport,” they continued.

The letter's writers hope to gather at least 10,000 signatures. As of Monday evening, they had gathered more than 4,500 signatures, after placing the letter online.

"This initiative's primary aim is to express the fact that Jonathan's fate isn't a private subject, but rather, an issue of national importance,” said letter writer Effie Lahav. “After 24 years, we feel that it's not enough to call on the government to assess itself – we all must ask ourselves how we let this happen.”

To see the letter (in Hebrew), click here.