Sharon: I've given orders to visit Pollard
Arutz7 News - August 1, 2004
In a special interview in a recent edition of Zera'im, the newsletter of the Bnei Akiva youth movement, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said that he had instructed the Israeli Ambassador in Washington to visit Jonathan Pollard in prison "from time to time." The interview appeared in the March 4, 2004 - but, the Justice for Jonathan Pollard (J4JP) organization says, no such visit has been set since then.
The organization also stated that Ambassador Ayalon himself, asked about paying an official visit, responded that he is ready to visit Pollard as soon as he receives instructions to do so.
Pollard has been imprisoned in the U.S. for almost 19 years, convicted on one count of passing classified information to a friendly country - Israel. Contrary to public perception, he was not convicted of treason. Despite agreeing to a plea bargain and cooperating with the U.S. government, Pollard received the maximum sentence: life imprisonment.
J4JP provided the following translation of the relevant question and Sharon's answer in Zera'im:
Q: "On another subject, many Bnei Akiva educators are involved in activities to free Jonathan Pollard. What is your position on the subject?"
Prime Minister Sharon: "I would be very happy if Jonathan Pollard would be free, and there is no trip or meeting that I have with the heads of the administration in the United States that the subject is not raised by me, and also I have given instructions to our Ambassador to visit him in prison from time to time. But it is necessary to understand that this is a very complex and complicated problem and this is one of the kind of things that action on them is in fact taken more quietly. Certainly it is necessary to do and to continue to do and I hope that some day we will succeed."
Young Pollard-activists demonstrated last week outside the Ramat Gan home of Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, demanding government action towards the release of Jonathan Pollard. The activists assembled a makeshift prison cell in front of Shalom's home, and one of the activists represented Pollard by sitting in the "cell," dressed in striped prison garb and chained in handcuffs. Police soon appeared on the scene, threatening to arrest the leaders if the prison cell were not dismantled at once. Adi Ginzburg, spokesperson for Noar L'maan Pollard (the Pollard Youth Movement) noted, "Apparently it is illegal to incarcerate Pollard in Israel. Now if only the U.S. would take note!"
The activists expressed frustration and anger over Shalom's refusal to instruct Ambassador Ayalon to visit Pollard in prison.