Freed Druze Prisoner Joins Rally for Pollard

Arutz 7 - May 4, 2005 / 25 Nisan 5765

A larger-than-usual rally on behalf of Jonathan Pollard was held in downtown Jerusalem yesterday, featuring an impassioned call for his freedom by recently-freed Azzam Azzam.

Reports of the numbers in attendance varied from over 1,000 to 2,500. Among the participants were Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and the Chief Rabbi of Migdal HaEmek, Rabbi Yitzchak David Grossman.

Azzam Azzam, an Israeli Druze who was released five months ago from Egypt after spending over seven years in prison there on trumped-up espionage charges, said, "What I experienced in prison in Egypt was nothing at all compared to what Pollard must certainly have been undergoing over the past years... The Jewish people must not forget Pollard."

The rally was sponsored by hareidi-religious Radio Kol Chai, which has been promoting a free-Pollard campaign over the last several weeks.

Pollard is into the 20th year of a life sentence in the U.S. for spying for Israel. The U.S. abrogated a plea bargain agreement in handing down the sentence, and former American President Bill Clinton reneged on a Wye Plantation conference promise to then-Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to pardon Pollard.

Neither has Prime Minister Ariel Sharon shown signs of trying to help Pollard, who is an Israeli citizen. Sharon declined to submit letters on Pollard's behalf from the Knesset and the Chief Rabbis to President Bush in at least two recent meetings with the American leader.

Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef, a former Chief Sephardic Rabbi of Israel, delivered a live phone message to the rally. "Everything Jonathan did was for the sake of G-d," the rabbi said. "Everyone who is in a position to help must do everything he can to do so."

Rabbi Metzger, who met with Pollard for several hours in the latter's maximum security prison cell last November, said at the time that Pollard told him, "Israel has abandoned me, but I have not abandoned Israel. No one can harm my love for the Land of Israel."

Rabbi Metzger told the crowd yesterday that Pollard had told him that the prison authorities would not allow him to replace his dirty yarmulke, nor his broken eyeglasses, which are usable but cause him pain.