Rabbi Eliyahu: Israelis sold Pollard out

Tzfat Chief Rabbi laments disregard shown to plight of Jonathan Pollard within Israeli government and American Jewry.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu
צילום: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who has visited Jonathan Pollard in a prison in the United States over the years, told Benny Teitelbaum this morning (Sunday) in an interview with Kan Moreshet about one of his conversations with Pollard.

Rabbi Eliyahu spoke of the visits his father, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, would pay to Pollard. “When I visited him, he told me we’re like brothers. He told me that one time he had asked Rabbi [Mordechai] Eliyahu, my father, ‘Why do you trouble yourself so much to visit me despite the great distance?’ Then he said to him, 'If you were my son, you would not ask, right?' Then think of yourself as if you were my son."

"So that's how the rabbi treated him. And he told me, if I am the son of Rabbi Eliyahu then we are brothers," Rabbi Eliyahu added.

Asher Mivzari, one of the activists who was prominent in the movement to free Jonathan Pollard, also participated in the interview and expressed his frustration that it took so long to secure Pollard's freedom.

"On the one hand, there is great joy and we are thankful to G-d that he survived all these difficult years in prison. 30 years in prison in very, very great agony, and another five years under restrictions. On the other hand, it is late because he should have been released long ago, even in terms of simple justice. For what he did in the US you usually get five years in prison, but here there was such a severe punishment that was out of all proportion. Even American officials have stated that he should have been released long ago in terms of American justice," Mivzari noted.

Mivzari also spoke of the concern for the condition of his wife, Esther, who has cancer. "We ask all the people of Israel to pray for them and pray for the healing of Esther Yocheved Bat Reizel Bracha Pollard. They would board a plane to Israel today, but she is being treated there in a hospital, and we want their immigration to Israel to be done in the best possible way without any risk to the continuation of the treatments she is undergoing there and with precise medical coordination at the hospital here in Israel. The coronavirus does not help either because both are at a very high risk. As soon as possible and they will take care of all these things then they will immediately come to Israel. This is their life's dream, to reach the Land of Israel."

Rabbi Eliyahu claimed during the interview, "If it were not for the people in Israel who sold him to the Americans, he would not have sat in prison. All the evidence that indicted him and put him in prison for so many years, was given by people in Israel. I heard these things directly from him when I was with him, and this is one of the most well-known things. There are people who were ministers in the government, two of them, who committed this crime, which is why Pollard was in prison. He did everything he did for the people of Israel for the State of Israel. We should have lain on the fence for him but people preferred to save their skin and sell him out, which is a very serious matter."

"I did not name names, we are now in a happy time, but there were two people who could have saved him and they did not," he added.

Mivzari also spoke about the importance of the frequent visits of the late Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu to Pollard, “The rabbi visited Pollard ten times and this is something that gave him a lot of strength to hold on and survive throughout all those years. All these years he also did not think only of himself, he was very concerned for the people of Israel, for the State of Israel, for people who were hurt, injured in terrorist attacks and other things. His thoughts were not only about himself. He knew the problems and failures that had happened, but mostly his thoughts were on how to help the people of Israel and the State of Israel and his dream was to come and join the people of Israel and contribute all he can with the rest of his strength and do everything he can."

Towards the end of the interview, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu remarked: "I think that American Jewry should perhaps ask him for forgiveness. In an attempt to be considered kosher Americans, they simply ignored him. They forget that we are each other's guardians and it is not possible that they wouldl turn their backs on someone who gave so much of himself for the people of Israel, What a waste."