At an event marking Jonathan Pollard’s visit to Beit Yehonatan, the building named after him in the Yemenite Village in Jerusalem, Pollard called it a “dream come true.”
“It’s a dream come true. Next to coming home with Esther, coming back to the land itself was like a marriage for both of us,” he said, sitting next to Esther.
He recalled that the staff in prison used to taunt him by asking him if he thought he’d ever “come home.”
He’d always reply, “Do you believe in G-d?”
They’d say “Yes.”
He’d ask, “Do you believe G-d can perform miracles?”
When they would say, “Yes,” he would say, "Well in that case I’ll be coming home with my wife."
Pollard dismissed the notion that in 1948, Jews regained true sovereignty in Israel. The Jewish people gained a State, the Knesset, an army, a national anthem, courts and other national institutions.
However, he said, “We don’t have sovereignty. And we will not have sovereignty in our G-d given land until places like this and all of (Judea and Samaria) are back in our hands completely.”
He added, “And it starts here in Jerusalem – when we liberated Jerusalem in 1967. In all the years we’ve been waiting to regain, recapture, to liberate this land here in the Yemenite Quarter. I can guarantee you as much as there is a G-d in heaven we will regain everything, everything Hashem promised us and at that point we will have regained our sovereignty in the land. This is the start right here.”
Both he and Esther are grateful for the fact that Beit Yehonatan exists.
“Esther and I are both very proud and very thankful that you good people are here on the front lines of regaining the sovereignty of our Jewish people in (the Holy Land). It starts right here,” Pollard said.
Beit Yehonatan sends an important message to the world, said Daniel Luria, Executive Director of Ateret Cohanim, the organization that owns Beit Yehonatan.
“This sends a message to the rest of the world that there is nothing that is going to crush the Jewish spirit. No one will be able to tell us where we can live, how we can live,” he said.
Remarking upon the fact that Pollard spent 10,956 days in prison and 1,800 days in another jail in New York, Luria said that they all knew one day Pollard would be free and in the Jewish State, where he would be able to speak Hebrew and have access to holy books without interference from prison authorities, such as was the case when he was in jail.
“He waited. But Esther and Jonathan and Ateret Cohanim knew this day was going to come,” Luria said. “Today we are here in Beit Yehonatan. Twenty years ago, Esther and Jonathan were part of a dream.”
Luria recalled how all the children would send pictures and letters to Pollard in prison. All those letters and pictures were received by him, Pollard said.
Luria added, “These children had a chair for you, had your picture, davened. This building was waiting for you. We all waited. And today you are here.’
Raya Eisenbach, a resident of Beit Yehonatan, spoke about living there. “As you know living here is a very complication mission.”
“Having the name Yehonatan for the building is something that helps you in this mission,” she said. “It’s an inspiration to know that you’re running a marathon. It could take twenty years. It’s not something about your personal family. It’s bigger than you.”
A plaque was presented to Jonathan and a gift was presented to Esther.