After 20 Years: Knesset Recognizes Pollard As A Prisoner of Zion

Arik Bender - Maariv NRG - November 22, 2005
Translated by J4JP

See J4JP Reaction: "The Battle for PoZ Status is Not Over" below.

Members of Knesset ratified a decision tonight recognizing Pollard as a Prisoner of Zion and calling upon the US to free him.

Twenty years after he entered prison in America, after being convicted of espionage for Israel, the Knesset tonight issued a resolution which states, "The Knesset recognizes Jonathan Pollard as a Prisoner of Zion, and calls upon the Unites States to release him upon humanitarian grounds." The Knesset will also petition the Prime Minister to make an official request to the US regarding this matter.

The Knesset Speaker is charged with conveying to President Bush and to the Congress and Senate, a petition signed by 112 members of Knesset calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard. (J4JP: This is the same petition that was signed in July of 2003 which has still not found its way to the US!) A special delegation is to be convened for this purpose.

This week marked the completion of 20 years of incarceration for Jonathan Pollard. Two days ago, Rabbi Mordecai Eliyahu, the former Chief Rabbi of Israel took initiative for Pollard's release and sent a special letter to George Bush, the President of the United States, in which the rabbi promised that if Pollard were released he would be his guarantor and be willing to have Pollard come and live in his home in Kyriat Moshe, Jerusalem.

In his letter to Bush, Rabbi Eliyahu wrote that he has met with Pollard in prison in Butner North Carolina, and that he found Pollard to be "a dignified man, a man of noble sensitivities, who is deserving of special consideration." The rabbi implored the American president to act with mercy towards Pollard "who has been punished beyond measure."

The rabbi concluded by writing that releasing Pollard would be an act of "graciousness and compassion" and added that doing so will bring "blessing to you and to the American people, to the State of Israel, and to the world at large. Please release him at once and I bless you that the Almighty should lead you on the right path, in the right way, and that you should merit great success in all that you do."

J4JP's Reaction: The Battle for PoZ Status is Not Over

Knesset recognition of Jonathan as a PoZ is appropriate and appreciated. However, it should be noted that this is not an official Israeli Government decision and does not carry the power of law. In effect, it is more like a "sense of the Congress" resolution.

This gesture on the part of the Knesset once again affirms that virtually all Israelis regard Jonathan as a Prisoner of Zion - except for the Government of Israel. Until Jonathan Pollard receives official government recognition as a Prisoner of Zion, his attorneys will continue to fight for it in Israel's Supreme Court.