A Place for Pollard Seder Night
Arutz7 & J4JP Report - April 3, 2003
Jonathan Pollard's rabbi, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel, His
Eminence HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, has given his blessing to a proposal by
Rabbi Shlomo Aviner calling on all of Israel to set a place at the
table for Jonathan Pollard on Seder Night. His empty chair symbolizes
the longing and hope of the Nation to see Jonathan [Yehonatan Ben Malka]
free and speedily returned home to Israel.
Arutz7 reports: On the political front, a disappointed Jonathan Pollard
wrote a fiery letter to Justice Minister Tommy Lapid of Shinui, who went public a few
days ago with the fact that his request to U.S. Attorney General
Ashcroft for a pardon for Pollard had not borne fruit. "Of course not!," Pollard
wrote. "The American Attorney General has no authority to pardon
anyone! Only the President can. By going to the wrong official, you have done my
case immeasurable harm. This initiative merely broadcasts to the
Americans, Israel's insincerity and indifference towards my release."
"My attorney, Larry Dub, asked to meet with you in Jerusalem BEFORE your
trip to Washington," Pollard wrote, "in order to introduce you to my
American attorneys, [who] would have briefed you on my new legal case.
They would have told you that the most effective help that you could request
from John Ashcroft would be to allow my attorneys access to the
classified portion of my court docket... [They] would also have asked you to
banish the word 'pardon' from your vocabulary. .. . [A]n important opportunity
was lost..." The full text of Pollard's letter to Minister Lapid can be
seen at www.israelnationalnews.com or on the J4JP web site.
"Even after you failed with Ashcroft," Pollard also wrote, "you could
have sustained an American initiative had you, even at that point, met with
our attorneys and asked them for input and direction. You could have come to
see me. Instead you went to the media. That was, of course, the surest
way to kill any further initiative on my behalf."
Pollard's wife Esther spoke with Israel Radio on Monday and explained
that the publicizing of Lapid's contacts actually harmed chances for her
husband's release: "It broadcast a message to the Americans that this
initiative was really an Israeli domestic issue undertaken for
public-relations purposes in Israel, and not a serious initiative in the
US for Jonathan's release."
J4JP adds: The lack of serious intent behind the Lapid/Ashcroft "effort"
is underscored by the failure of the Israeli Government, for the 18th
year in a row, to exploit the recent AIPAC Policy Conference in
Washington to lobby for the release of Jonathan Pollard. The AIPAC
Conference is well attended by American officials, and closely monitored
by the Administration. Any issue which is important to the Government of
Israel is always prominently featured at the annual conference.
Justice Minister Tommy Lapid - fresh from his meeting with Attorney
General Ashcroft - was one of the prominent speakers at the AIPAC
Conference. So was Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom. Neither Israeli
official ever mentioned Jonathan Pollard in their keynote speeches or in
private meetings. The message was not lost on the American
Administration: Jonathan Pollard - even after 18 years of incarceration, even despite his prescient role in preparing Israel for
the Gulf War and the current Iraqi War - is still no issue for the
Government of Israel.