Israel Won't Recognize Pollard as Prisoner of Zion
Arutz-7 News: Friday, January 7, 2005
Jonathan Pollard has been dealt yet another blow. This time, a request to recognize him as an official Prisoner of Zion has been rejected, once again, by the official Prisoners of Zion Authority.
The stated reason for the rejection astonished many of those who have been following the Pollard case. "How can we know that he will want to live in Israel upon his release from prison?" the members of the decision-making committee wrote. Pollard, in his frequent letters and messages from prison, has often stated his deep desire to live in Israel.
Pollard is serving his 20th year of a prison sentence in the U.S., for passing classified information to Israel. The information in question was critical to Israel's security, and Israel was entitled to it in accordance with agreements it made with the U.S.
The decision to reject the Prisoner of Zion request was made by an appeals committee of the Prisoners of Zion Authority in the Absorption Ministry. The appeal of a previous rejection was submitted by Israeli inventor Dr. Felix-Azriel Kochubievsky (inventor of a transcranial electro-stimulation apparatus).
The committee noted that one of the criteria for recognition as a Prisoner of Zion is that the candidate must be an Israeli citizen and resident. "No one disputes the fact that Pollard is not an Israeli resident," the committee member states. "It may be claimed that it is only his incarceration that prevents him from being a resident... But this claim, in our opinion, is artificial. Furthermore, how can we know that upon his release he will want to live in Israel, against which his bitterness in light of the above is fairly understandable."
Adi Ginzberg, a leading activist for Pollard's release, told INN's Ruti Avraham in response: "I can't think of a better example than this to depict 'Have you murdered and also inherited?' What the committee is saying is that the fact that Israeli governments betrayed Pollard and their obligations towards him - that's the reason to take away his deserved rights. Furthermore, questioning his desire to live in Israel is totally ridiculous; there is no letter or interview he gives in which he does not express his exclusive desire to move to Israel."
Yosef Mendlevitch, one of the most famous Soviet "Prisoners of Zion," has long promoted Pollard's case, calling for American and Israeli Jewish leaders to work for his release. He recently wrote that Israel has nothing to "lose" by granting Pollard the status of Prisoner of Zion: "Prisoners of Zion don't receive special payments, and Ariel Sharon won't be forced to wrangle with his good friend George W. Bush over his release."
Mendlevitch wrote, "The U.S. Administration sinned against Israel by concealing important information from it, in violation of agreements. Granting Pollard the status of 'Prisoner of Zion' would be an important statement on the part of Israel, declaring that Jonathan acted correctly and properly when he bravely went against the American establishment's hiding of the truth from Israel. He set a new standard of Jewish and human responsibility for all of us. He should be considered a Prisoner of Zion, as 'from Zion will come forth' the light of truth and justice for all the nations."