Edelstein To Meet With Pollard Next Week

November 20, 1997 - Batsheva Tsur and Aryeh Dean Cohen

Absorption Minister Yuli Edelstein left Monday night on a 10-day trip to the US, during which he is to visit Jonathan Pollard in Butner Prison in North Carolina next Monday.

A spokesman for Edelstein said Edelstein wants to put Pollard's case back on the national agenda, and believes his situation has been neglected by the government.

This week marks 13 years since Pollard's imprisonment, and the spokesman said Edelstein believes the efforts to get back the General Security Service agents involved in the Mashaal Affair leads him to believe that the country has the power to bring individuals back from captivity if it really wants to do so.

Meanwhile, Pollard, serving a life sentence for spying for Israel, has decided to take the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations to the Rabbinical Council of America's beit din (rabbinical court).

Pollard asked New York Rabbi Avi Weiss, who has been active on his behalf, to represent him against the conference which, he says, has refused to honor two of Judaism's most important mitzvot - the redemption of captives and saving a life.