Yehuda Halevy Rejected for Prisoner of Zion Status

Ze'ev Gallili - Makor Rishon* - English Translation by J4JP - January 31, 2005

As the basis for their request to the Ministry of Immigration to recognize Yehuda HaLevy as a Prisoner of Zion, the petitioners offered the following poem which issued from the pen of the poet himself:

"Zion won't you ask after your captives
     who seek your welfare, remnant of your flock
From west to east, north and south, peace-
     from the far and the near, from all sides accept
greetings from desire's captive who offers tears like the dew
     of Hermon and longs for them to streak your slopes.
I howl like at jackal at your afflictions, but dreaming of the return
     of your captivity, I am a lute for your songs"*

The Ministerial Committee decided not to accept the petitioners' request since, according to the law, the candidate must be resident in Israel, and an Israeli citizen according to the Law of Return. There is nothing in this poem, the Committee stated, which meets those requirements. Moreover, added the Committee, "How do we know if he is released, that he will want to come and live in the State of Israel." The Committee relied upon the Pollard precedent for its rejection of Halevy.

*Originally published by Makor Rishon in Hebrew, January 9, 2005
** First stanza excerpted from: "Zion, Won't You Ask" - by Yehuda Halevy

J4JP Note:

Yehuda Halevy, twelfth century Spanish poet, wrote both secular and devotional poems. He is considered to be one of the finest poets in post-Biblical Hebrew literature. He was born in 1140 in Spain; the location, circumstances and exact date of his death are unknown.
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