An Urgent Chanuka Appeal from Esther Pollard to Prime Minister Peres

December 17, 1995: First light of Chanuka, 5756

Dear Prime Minister Peres,

I am writing to you on this first night of Chanuka to implore you to continue vigorously in your efforts to secure the release of my husband, Jonathan Pollard.

Tonight, all of Israel lights Chanuka lights and savours the warmth and glow of the miraculous lights that brought redemption to our people.

Tonight, Jonathan Pollard, who sacrificed his life and his freedom for the State of Israel, sits alone in his prison cell, ill, unhappy, and abandoned.

Tonight, I had the heart-breaking task of telling Jonathan that the Prime Minister of Israel has already told the press that he does not expect a positive response to his request of Mr. Clinton to free Jonathan Pollard. Jonathan was devastated as I read to him the article from Ha'aretz (December 13, 1995) which quotes you as already having given up on securing Jonathan's freedom. Your remarks were confirmed for us by a number of reporters, who were present on the flight from the U.S. to Morocco that day.

Mr. Prime Minister, the fight for Jonathan's freedom is much bigger than just the fight to save one man's life. It is much bigger than the fight to preserve Israel's national honour. It is bigger than the goal of showing the nation that Israel does not abandon her soldiers in the field.

Mr. Prime Minister, the fight for Jonathan's freedom is the fight for equal treatment as an ally of the very same country that Israel is relying on to broker an honest peace with her neighbours, and to guarantee her security on the Golan.

The United States of America has shown extraordinary sensitivity to their ally Saudi Arabia, by not pursuing charges against Lt. Cmndr. Michael Schwartz. Schwartz (a non-Jew), was the officer in the American navy who for two years spied for the Saudis. Lt. Cmdr. Schwartz has never served a day in prison, nor will he. Not wanting to offend the Saudi ally, the Americans let Schwartz go with a slap on the wrist, and a less than honorable discharge. It is unclear whether or not the Lt. Cmdr. will have to forfeit his Navy pension.

In more than ten years the Americans have failed to show one shred of hard evidence that Jonathan Pollard's activities harmed the U.S.A. In the meantime, the C.I.A. has been totally discredited; Caspar Weinberger himself required a Presidential pardon; master spy Aldrich Ames has been found guilty of those crimes that Jonathan was alleged to have committed, and the Gulf war has come and gone, showing America's immediate role in arming Iraq, and making it clear to the layman why Jonathan Pollard risked his life to warn Israel.

Mr. Prime Minister, the people of Israel want Jonathan Pollard home. We lift our eyes to you know.

We implore you not to withdraw at this critical moment when a decision is being made in Washington.

Mr. Prime Minister, there are so many grounds on which to press for Jonathan's release:

  • Because it would be the moral thing to do.
  • Because it would be the just thing to do.
  • Because it would be the humane thing to do.
  • Because it would honour the last request of our late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, and be a tribute to his memory.
  • Because Jonathan is an Israeli Citizen and must be repatriated.
  • Because Jonathan has served the longest harshest sentence of anyone ever convicted of a similar offence in the U.S.
  • Because the C.I.A. has been discredited.
  • Because Jonathan is so ill.
  • Because it would be a meaningful gesture that the Americans could make to the peace process.
  • Because the American Jewish leadership is solidly in support and has demonstrated that support in letters to the President.
  • Because Mr. Warren Christopher and others have pledged that the U.S.A. would extend itself to do whatever is necessary to help Israel recover from the blow of Prime Minister Rabin's assassination.
  • Because Israel has just released thousands of dangerous prisoners and needs a gesture from the U.S.A. that they too can release just one.
  • Because Israel has a right to demand equal treatment with all of America's allies in the Middle East.
  • Because Schwartz went free but Pollard languishes in his eleventh year of incarceration.

Mr. Prime Minister, if the people of Israel are to have a future, that future depends on the peace that you are working valiantly to bring to the region. Until Jonathan Pollard is home, there can be no peace. Not for our friends and not for our enemies.

We are relying on you to press the point with our American ally, until they understand that Jonathan Pollard's freedom is not just the fight for one man's life, but much much more to all of Israel. I implore you Mr. Peres, bring Jonathan Pollard home



Respectfully yours,

Esther Pollard