Pollard vs Barak - Supreme Court Hearing
Media Release - January 23, 2000
JERUSALEM - Jonathan Pollard's precedent setting case - the first time
in history that an agent has sued the government of the country he
served - was heard in Israel Supreme Court this morning [23/01/00].
The case was heard by a tribunal consisting of Supreme Court President
Justice Aaron Barak, Justice Michael Cheshin and Justice Yitzhak Zamir.
Attorneys Larry Dub and Baruch Ben-Yosef represented Jonathan Pollard.
Attorney Uzi Fogelman represented the respondent, Prime Minister Ehud
Barak. Jonathan Pollard's wife, Esther was present in court on behalf
of her husband.
The Initial Response on behalf of the Government (filed Oct.7/99),
recognized Jonathan Pollard as an Israeli agent and as such recognized
its obligation to him. In its Initial Response, the Government made
specific commitments to Pollard - promising immediate medical
assistance, financial support, consistent contact, and regular updates,
among other things.
Pollard's attorney, Larry Dub, informed the Court that not a single one
of these commitments has been fulfilled, or even acted upon in any way
since the document was filed months ago. It was difficult for those in
attendance in the court to credit the respondent's flagrant breech of
promise, and some thought that they simply had not heard correctly.
Attorney Ben-Yosef reiterated, and clarified unequivocally that the
respondent has not even made any attempt to fulfill these commitments.
According to Pollard's attorneys, the respondent, Ehud Barak, continues
to cut off all contact between Jonathan Pollard and the Government.
Neither Pollard nor his representatives have received any update from
any Government official since Ehud Barak took office.
Attorney Uzi Fogelman claimed that his client, Ehud Barak, brings up
Jonathan Pollard's name at every meeting with the Americans. Pollard's
attorneys countered that if that is the case, he is certainly not
bringing it up in any serious manner.
Attorney Dub then called the court's attention to his and Mrs. Pollard's
December 28, 1999 meeting with the new Israeli Ambassador to the United
States, Mr. David Ivri. Dub pointed out that Ivri should know of any
initiative for Pollard, if for no other reason than that Ivri not say or
do anything in his new post that would frustrate the Government's
Dub stated that at the meeting - on the eve of Ivri's departure to the
US - the new Ambassador stated, in front of witnesses (including the
legal counsel for the Ministry of Defense) that he had received no
update from the Prime Minister concerning Pollard, no instructions from
any Government official regarding Pollard, and he knew of no plan to
assist Pollard in any way.
Pollard's attorneys added that the Government's failure to act in good
faith to fulfill their basic commitments to Jonathan Pollard, does
little to foster trust in Ehud Barak's word on the larger issue of
seeking Pollard's release.
On January 20, 2000, two days before the Pollard Hearing convened, the
Government filed a Supplemental Response to the Pollard petition. This
document claimed that the Court has no jurisdiction in this case because
it would constitute interference in a political matter. The Supplemental
Response therefore requested that the Court reject the case out of hand.
The Justices did not even address this document.
In the light of the Government's complete failure to fulfill its basic
commitments towards an Israeli agent, the Court felt an obligation to
hear the case. It is anticipated that the Court's ruling in the case
will set a precedent regarding the Government's obligations towards
those who serve the State. A decision is expected shortly.
Scenes From the Pollard Supreme Court Hearing
Legal Texts Page - Israeli Documents
Larry Dub Letter to PM Barak - Dec. 28, 1999