Special Session of Knesset for Pollard Next Week

Arutz7 - September 3, 2004

The Knesset will be convening a special session, despite the summer recess, to discuss ways to gain the release of Jonathan Pollard.

Pollard, a former civilian US Naval analyst, is serving a life sentence without possibility of parole in a US prison for passing classified information to a US ally, which included information about Iraq's offensive weapon's capabilities.

For the past week, pro-Pollard activists bombarded politicians from across the political spectrum with telephone calls requesting their signatures on a petition compelling the Knesset to reconvene during its summer recess, in order to take serious action on Pollard's behalf. This morning, the petition, spearheaded by Tzvi Hendel (National Union), gained the 25 MK signatures necessary to force the Knesset to reconvene. The Knesset Speaker is now required to convene the Knesset within one week.

Yesterday (Wednesday), a group of new immigrants from North America, together with Israeli high school students, began a ten-day hunger strike on Pollard's behalf today.

The hunger strike, coordinated by Youth for Jonathan Pollard, Magshimey Herut and the Re'ut (Friendship) Movement, is set to take place in high schools, army bases, yeshivot (talmudic academies) and seminaries across Israel.

From 5 PM to 8 PM on each day of the strike, pro-Pollard activists intend to hold protests outside the Knesset in Jerusalem. They expect to be joined by Rabbis, professors and MKs.

Pollard activist Eli Yosef told IsraelNN.com's Ezra HaLevi why the coalition of students and veteran activists decided that now was the time for a coordinated effort on Pollard's behalf. "The Hebrew month of Elul is one of repentance, and so we as a nation must make amends for the way we have neglected Jonathan Pollard in prison," said Yosef. "This is the nineteenth year that Jonathan will spend Rosh HaShana, Yom Kippur and Sukkot alone in a cell instead of with his People."

Yosef believes that both the social and security problems in Israel today stem from the failure of Jews to feel the pain of their fellow Jews. "The reason we are having this hunger strike is to convey the message that Jonathan's plight literally hurts each one of us," he says. "The tragedy is that members of the government truly believe they can escape the pain - and so each of the hunger-striking young people will be speaking to four or five Knesset members. It is our hope that through this simple act, the government of Israel will begin to feel the pain of Jonathan Pollard."