Pollard, Kurtzer and Rabbi Eliyahu

Arutz7 - May 19, 2004

"The point was made." This was how one participant at last night's Orthodox Union dinner in Jerusalem summed up a short but sharp incident involving an American diplomat and the issue of Jonathan Pollard.

It began when U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer stood up to speak at the 1st Annual Banquet of the Seymour J. Abrams Orthodox Union Israel Center. The dinner, held in the Jerusalem Renaissance Hotel, was set to coincide with the commemoration of Jerusalem's liberation and reunification during the Six Day War 37 years ago. Only a few moments into the Ambassador's speech, however, Jerusalem attorney Baruch Ben-Yosef stood up, waved a picture of Jonathan Pollard, and demanded to know, "When will Pollard be released?!" Ben-Yosef's outburst was met with a round of applause from a significant number of the 600 guests; no one tried to hush him up. Kurtzer waited diplomatically for the applause to end, and then resumed speaking without addressing the Pollard issue.

Rabbi Yosef Eliyahu, son of Rishon LeTzion Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu and head of the Darkei Hora'ah L'Rabbanim kollel, wrote an open letter to Ambassador Kurtzer last week. It can be read here.


"Shalom dear Ambassador!

"I thought I would bring to your attention some information which may be of interest to your leaders in the United States. I refer to something that occurred in thousands of places all over Israel this past Passover night.

"While it is true that Israel and the United States do have an information-sharing agreement, an experienced ambassador like yourself knows that nations do not always live up to commitments of this kind. Therefore, as a private citizen, I feel it is right to share this information with you:

"This Seder night we sat, as our forefathers have done for thousands of years, and we read the Haggadah... Then we all spoke about the 'Sharansky' of our generation, Jonathan Pollard. Young men and women - the generation of the future - sang the popular folksong about Jonathan (authored by Rabbi Shlomo Aviner). They recounted with emotion his very touching story; a story about a man who has remained true to his principles. About how Jonathan's body is imprisoned by a world power, but how he has steadfastly remained true to his Jewish faith - his spirit remains invincible! ... About the man who again this year received nothing from his captors but bread and water for Pesach and a lot of "maror" (bitter herbs)... On the issue of Pollard, [your leaders] will not find anyone who will defend them. Even our media, their ever-faithful servant, criticize them on this issue. Please tell your principals - who are making such great efforts to appear as the paragon of morality and as bearers of a 'just solution' for the world - that the Pollard case works to their detriment. It erodes their integrity and their credibility, and damages the spiritual underpinnings of the nation..."

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