Rally For Pollard At Likud Convention

Hillel Fendel - Arutz7 News - September 26, 2005

What was scheduled to be just another of many demonstrations demanding that something be done for Jonathan Pollard turned into something quite different.

The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home had planned a major demonstration at the Likud Convention in Tel Aviv yesterday (Sunday), demanding that Likud leaders act to secure Jonathan Pollard's release from U.S. prison. However, as Pollard's wife Esther later reported, "Israel's security forces were on high alert yesterday at Exhibition Fair Grounds in Tel Aviv to prevent Jonathan Pollard [activists], his wife, and/or any facsimile of Pollard from entering the [area] where the Likud convention was scheduled to take place."

The guards initially did not permit Mrs. Pollard from entering, but reneged upon the intervention of Manhigut Yehudit leader Moshe Feiglin, who accompanied her, as well as the threat that media personalities would be informed of the decision. However, they did not allow other demonstration leaders to enter the area, nor did they allow Mrs. Pollard to bring in photos of her husband.

A protest was then held just outside the gates to the Exhibition Grounds, which "proved to be very effective," Esther Pollard reported. "The area outside the gates was the sole portal of entry for all cars and all pedestrians entering the fair grounds. Everyone who attended the convention saw and heard the Pollard demo." Many hundreds of people filled the entire area and street outside the gates of the fair grounds.

Esther Pollard herself remained inside the Grounds and held a solitary vigil outside the convention hall, holding a large poster of Jonathan that had been smuggled in. Two other women later joined her. They reported less than strong support from the Knesset Members who passed by.

At one point, a discussion was held in front of television cameras between Mrs. Pollard and a Likud delegate; the latter began by praising the Pollard cause but ended with criticism of Mrs. Pollard for disparaging Sharon's efforts on behalf of her husband. The former Likud chapter leader of Gush Katif, Oz Kadmon, originally of Kfar Darom, then joined the discussion, responding to the first delegate's claim that Sharon is Israel's "most compassionate prime minister ever." He described the brutal expulsion he and his neighbors endured and are still enduring, and then said, "If, after all we went through - being thrown out of our homes, watching them be destroyed, and seeing our land turned over to our enemies - our prime minister would at least have asked for Jonathan Pollard and brought him home, then we might have been consoled that at least our suffering was not all in vain. But even Pollard was of no concern to him!"

Towards the end of the evening, Esther Pollard left the fairgrounds and addressed the crowd outside. "As I was addressing the crowd," she later wrote, "my cell phone rang, and it was Jonathan. Our activists broke into a spontaneous chant: 'We love you Jonathan!' over and over again. Jonathan was overwhelmed when he heard it, and sent his love and thanks and greetings to the crowd."

She concluded her speech by thanking the overwhelmingly youthful crowd, praising them for their "understanding heart and compassionate activism."

A massive prayer rally on behalf of Jonathan is being planned at the Machpelah Cave in Hevron in the near future, with the participation of Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, Israel's former Chief Rabbi.