Mendlevitch Hunger Strikes For Pollard; Large Rally Tomorrow

Arutz7 News - June 22, 2003

Yosef Mendlevitch, who sat in Soviet prison for 11 years for trying to immigrate to Israel, has begun a hunger strike on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. The location: outside a Jerusalem hotel where top leaders of the Jewish Agency are meeting. Mendlevitch explained to Arutz-7 today why he chose that spot:

"The Jewish Agency represents Jewish communities all over the world. If Jews everywhere would arise and take action for Pollard, it would be an international effort. That's the way to succeed. Unfortunately, world Jewry remains apathetic, and my hunger strike is also against this apathy."

Mendlevitch said that there's another reason why he's striking the Jewish Agency:

"We asked [Jewish Agency head] Salai Meridor if we could address the body on this issue, and he didn't even respond. He just said, 'What, are you really striking?' - and went off to eat."

Mendlevitch admitted that Jonathan Pollard is still not a burning issue in the public consciousness, "but awareness is increasing. I call on the public to arrive tomorrow at the Citadel of David Hotel in Jerusalem for a massive rally on Pollard's behalf. It is just unbelievable that he has been in prison for almost 18 years - 18 is 'chai,' life, and he has been there an entire lifetime. Everyone must come tomorrow!"

The rally is being organized by the Justice for Jonathan Pollard organization tomorrow afternoon at 5 PM (at what used to be the "new Hilton Hotel"), where the executive members of the World Zionist Congress and Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency are holding their semi-annual meetings.

The organizers say that the demonstration "marks the first time in 18 years that Pollard activists will protest [world] Jewish leadership's abandonment and outright betrayal of Jonathan Pollard. The Jewish leadership's role in the prolonged and aggravated suffering of Jonathan Pollard goes beyond mere silence and indifference. Their tacit collusion with US officials has been instrumental in keeping Jonathan in prison."

Eli Joseph, one of the driving forces behind the struggle to free Pollard, notes that more than a year ago the World Jewish Congress passed a resolution on behalf of Jonathan Pollard - "and then quietly buried it, taking care never to allot resources or funds to implement it." For more information on this phenomenon, see an article by Esther Pollard.