Jonathan Pollard on Tuesday visited the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council, including ancient Shiloh, Meshek Achiya and the Psagot Winery.
Pollard began the visit at the Psagot Winery, where he met the deputy chairman of the Binyamin Regional Council, Raful Engel. Engel told him that "it is a great privilege that a special person like you, who sacrificed himself for the people of Israel, is with us. Binyamin is your home." Pollard received from Engel a special coin of the Binyamin region.
From there, Pollard continued to the site of ancient Shiloh, and was moved by what he saw at the site. Eliana Pasentin, the director of the foreign affairs bureau of the Binyamin Regional Council, told Pollard about the history of the place. At the conclusion of the tour, they arrived at the place where tradition says that Chana, mother of Samuel the Prophet, had prayed, and Pollard asked to pray at the place.
Following the prayer, Pollard said that "this is one of the most inspiring sites I visited in Israel, and the tour here made everything around come to life. When I was on Mount Ebal, I tried to explain that it was there the tribes gathered together and here at the site of ancient Shiloh, here the Jewish nation was formed, here the people of Israel were realized, in the Land of Israel according to the Torah of Israel, everything happened here. I invite everyone, from everywhere, to visit, come here to Shiloh and understand the source of our right to this country."
He continued, "This is our land, given to us by God and not by anyone else, and the site here in Shiloh illustrates and proves it to us. Come to Shiloh and understand the story of the antiquities and stones here. This is our heritage and this is our future."
At the end of the day, Pollard was shown some love in the town of Achiya, where he was greeted by hundreds of locals, who marched from the entrance to the town towards its center while singing “Veshavu Banim Ligvulam”.
Effi Lahav, who headed the activist group that campaigned for Pollard's release from prison, said, "It's simply moving to see the love and embracing of Jonathan from the amazing residents of Binyamin. We met many who for years prayed, acted, demonstrated and dreamed of this moment and it is very moving to see it happen."