Sharansky: Israel is in This Together With Pollard

IsraelNationalNews - February 10, 2004

Minister Natan Sharansky, who sat in Soviet prison for his Zionist activities for close to a decade, discussed his recent visit with Jonathan Pollard on Arutz-7 this morning.

"My wife and I visited last week with Jonathan and his wife - who now stays not far from the prison - for about two hours," Sharansky said. "For someone who has been in prison for over 18 years, he maintains his intellectual level quite well, but at the same time, every month and every day becomes harder and harder for him to be there. He is waiting for a miracle, just waiting to get out. His neighbors are all criminal convicts, and there is an atmosphere of violence; he has to protect his cell all the time. There is much noise, and if he wants to read - when he is not doing his job of washing windows - he has to put on earmuffs..."

"What he needs," Sharansky said, "is to know that Israel is doing whatever it can for him. Jonathan emphasized that he feels that he is a minority within a minority within a minority - a Jew, an Israeli, and a spy. When he sees that he is forgotten, it hurts him. For instance, in the recent hostage exchange ceremony, they read off the names of the other Israeli prisoners, and didn't even mention him - and this hurt him very much."

Arutz-7's Emanuel Shilo asked, "Why do you think they didn't read his name - so as not to embarrass the Americans?"

Sharansky responded, "Sometimes we think that we can help him better if we don't anger the Americans, but there is no doubt that this is a mistake. But something even more blatant is that there are no regular visits from our consul or ambassador; I spoke with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom and I hope that now this will be taken care of. It's obvious that if they know that we're following the situation, they will treat him better."

Sharansky then discussed what can be done to further the cause of Pollard's release: "In this case, as opposed to with Soviet refuseniks, it is fairly hard to enlist public opinion, as many people there feel that he committed very terrible crimes against the United States [

J4JP note

: For 18 years false charges have been levelled at Jonathan accusing him of terrible crimes ONLY in the media, NEVER in a court of law where he might challenge them. For 18 years the Government of Israel has known the truth but has never made any attempt to counter the slander and lies in the media about Jonathan.] ... On the other hand, however, the State of Israel is in on this together with Pollard, and sent him to carry out this mission. Whatever was done - whether it was a crime or a great achievement - Pollard and Israel did it together, and we therefore have to take a much more active role. For one thing, we must dispel many of the very dangerous myths that are circulating; there are those who think that he spied for Russia, and we who know that this is a lie can and must make sure that people know this is a lie. We have to be tough; just like we did in Wye, when we concluded a deal for his release and then at the last minute Clinton said he couldn't do it because of CIA objections - now too we must be very strong and link this with the mutual interests of America and Israel. We must also enlist public opinion in Israel on behalf of Pollard."
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