Rally For Pollard, and MK Noked's Decision
Arutz7 - May 9, 2004
A large demonstration calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard will be held in the Rose Garden opposite the Knesset in Jerusalem this afternoon. Hundreds of supporters, including youth home from school because of Lag BaOmer, as well as elected officials, rabbis and other Pollard activists are expected to participate. The rally is being organized by Eli Joseph and Associates, and The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home. Sinai Tor, Mordechai Fisher and Yaron Oz will provide live musical entertainment. Small groups of activists will stand outside ministers' homes after the rally, urging them to lobby the US government on Pollard's behalf.
Pollard, a former civilian intelligence analyst for the U.S. Navy and now an Israeli citizen, is into his 19th year of a life sentence in a U.S. prison cell for "passing classified information to an ally" - Israel.
MK Orit Noked (Labor), one of three co-sponsors of a new Pollard bill in the Knesset, has formally withdrawn her support for the bill, in accordance with a request by Pollard himself. In a letter to the Knesset Secretary last week, MK Noked wrote that she was referring to "the bill drafted by MK Mickey Eitan, the goal of which is to advance activities for the release of Jonathan Pollard."
Noked wrote that "as one who co-chairs, along with MK Gilad Erdan, the Knesset Lobby for Jonathan Pollard, I am interested in advancing his release. That notwithstanding, in accord with Jonathan's repeated requests to cancel the aforementioned bill, I have decided to honor his desire and to remove my support from the bill in its present form."
Pollard's wife Esther has explained that the bill does not serve her husband's interests, and that it in fact would "replace effective government action with 'public support activities,'" and would allocate a million dollars for Pollard "activities" as opposed to genuine efforts to secure his release.
Instead, Pollard wants a bill that would include three points: Formalization of a clear government policy on the case, formalization of Pollard's captivity status, and prison visits from the Israeli Ambassador. He has called on MKs Eitan and Erdan to follow Noked's lead and withdraw their support from the current bill.
Arutz-7 contacted MK Erdan for his response to Noked's decision; he said he has no response at this time.