NCYI Urgent Message To PM Sharon & President Katsov
National Council of Young Israel Media Release

February 22, 2005 B"H

Contact: Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President NCYI


Attached, text of a letter that was mailed and faxed to President Katzav and Prime Minister Sharon. The message speaks for itself.

Please publicize the letter and ask your readers to contact the President and Prime Minister with a similar request.

Honorable Moshe Katzav
President of the State of Israel
3 HaNassi Street
Jerusalem, Israel
Fax: 011-972-2-670-7297

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Kiryat HaMemshala, Jerusalem, Israel
Fax: 011-972-2-566-4838 Fax 2: 011-972-2-670-5475


February 15, 2005 / 6 Adar I, 5765

Honorable Moshe Katzav
President of the State of Israel
3 HaNassi Street
Jerusalem, Israel

Honorable Ariel Sharon
Prime Minister of the State of Israel
Kiryat HaMemshala
Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister,

As the State of Israel attempts, yet again, to achieve peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians, you are the leaders not merely of the democratic State of Israel, but of a nation transcending geography and individual differences. We as the nation of Jews, both in Israel and throughout the Diaspora, will judge the success of the peace efforts by the well-being and security it brings to Israel and Jews everywhere. We implore you to pursue a peace based on mutual commitment, effort, and reciprocity. Any peace must provide not only for the safety of the living, but for the sanctity of the dead; any peace must recognize the eternal truth that Israel is, and will always be, a Jewish state with a united Jerusalem as her capital.

The National Council of Young Israel represents over 200 synagogues throughout North America and Israel. National Young Israel membership is more closely aligned ideologically and emotionally with Israel as the eternal homeland of the Jews than is any other segment of Diaspora Jewry and it is from our ranks that the largest group of North American Jews makes aliyah, choosing Israel not merely as a spiritual homeland but as their physical homeland, as well. It is this commitment to Israel and Torah that inspired our members to donate 100 Torah Scrolls to Israeli army bases during the last three years and to lead numerous national and regional missions, to demonstrate solidarity with the state of Israel. For these reasons, and more, we express our concern as to the future negotiations and the gestures made in pursuing peace with the Palestinians, and write to you at this time.

Mr. President, five years ago as Foreign Minister, Prime Minister Sharon declared it a "

moral obligation

" to free Jewish prisoners who committed nationalistic offenses if the government of Israel were to free Palestinians. Today, nearly half of the Knesset, representing the breadth of Israeli politics and all segments of Jewish society in Israel, agrees with this position and has signed a petition calling for the release of Jews imprisoned for committing nationalist offenses.

The government of Israel is now preparing to release nine hundred Palestinian prisoners. These nine hundred Palestinians have committed crimes against the entire population of Israel-Jewish, Christian, and Muslim. They either have blood on their hands, intended to bloody their hands, or have been tainted by offering a hand to those with blood on their hands. If the enemies of Israel are to be released there needs to be amnesty for those Jews being held in Israeli prisons, who in comparison to the nine hundred Palestinians are insignificant, both in number and in danger to the Jewish state.

Israel demonstrates great humanitarian commitment to the Palestinians and to countries which deny its existence, the recent tsunami catastrophe for example. In Gaza, Yesha, and elsewhere, families of Jews held in prison are suffering, besieged not only from Palestinians committed to their destruction but from the emotional and economic hardship of fathers, husbands, and sons being incarcerated.

Honorable President Katzav, as the official with the power to free your fellow Jews, we implore you to show mercy to Israel's own citizens, as well, and to release and grant amnesty to those Jews convicted of nationalist offenses being held in Israeli prisons.

The United States has encouraged and facilitated the recent summit and subsequent talks between Israel and the Palestinians. America has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the Palestinians, while placing increasing pressure on Israel to make more concessions.

Israel in turn should ask that Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli citizen, be part of any prisoner release.

Pollard has served 20 years in jail, a term grossly disproportionate to his crime and unlike the Palestinians America wants Israel to release, he has no blood on his hands. Pollard has received support from across the Jewish and Israeli spectrum and is guilty of loving Israel too zealously. It seems a modest request by Israel to ask America to release Jonathan Pollard.

This past Monday, the government of Israel released the remains of 15 terrorists, some of whom committed murderous suicide bombing attacks against Israeli citizens. If any true peace will be achieved, reciprocity must exist. It pains all of Israel that information about possibly living MIAs and the remains of our soldiers has not been forthcoming. The list of MIAs can begin simply with Alef-Beit: Arad, Ron; Baumel, Zechariah and continue, achingly on. The list of our soldiers who remain unaccounted for is too long.

As you enter into any negotiations, concessions, or further return of terrorists, alive or dead, we ask that you maintain the sacred tradition of claiming our soldiers, alive or dead, and make the transfer of information on Israeli MIAs or the return of their remains a condition for future talks.

Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister, we implore you to reclaim the sons of Israel, whether in Israel, the United States, or Arab hands, whether alive or G-d forbid, dead. The nation of Israel, including all the Jews of the Diaspora, longs for peace, a just and enduring peace, in which our needs, both territorial and emotional are met.


Shlomo Z. Mostofsky, Esq.
National President
National Council of Young Israel

Rabbi Pesach Lerner
Executive Vice President
National Council of Young Israel

CC: Members of Government
Members of Knesset