Pollard: "Zion, Look After Your Captives - Before It's Too Late"
Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com - May 23, 2006 / 25 Iyar 5766
Many of the upcoming Jerusalem Day ceremonies this week will be held in honor of long-time prisoner Jonathan Pollard, and will feature his message of concern for the State of Israel.
Jerusalem Day, the 28th of Iyar - this coming Friday - commemorates the liberation of the Old City of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967. The third day of that war marked the first time in 1,899 years (1,897, according to some accounts) that the Jewish People controlled the site of their most sacred location in the world - Mt. Moriah, where Abraham bound his son Isaac and where the Holy Temples stood and will stand.
Public commemoration of the day this year will be moved up to Thursday, in order to avoid all possibility of Sabbath desecration. The special holiday prayers, however, will be held on Friday.
Public Jerusalem Day ceremonies in the capital will begin at 3:30 PM with a rally on behalf of Jonathan Pollard at Independence Park, opposite the U.S. Consulate on Agron St.
At 4:45, the protestors and others will begin marching towards Zion Square in the center of town, where, at 5:30, the Rikudgalim - Dance With the Flag festivities - will begin. The participants will sing, dance, and march towards the Old City and the Western Wall. Pollard's letter (see below) will be read aloud there and elsewhere.
Other festivities this week include:
* The week-long "Jerusalem Heart" Festival, dedicated to the students of Jerusalem. Featuring a treasure hunt, moonlight movies, guided tours of the city and a huge park concert at Independence Park.
* Tuesday, an IBM hi-tech exhibition at the Israel Museum parking lot
* Wednesday, 10 AM - 6 PM, Sacher Park: The Regional Councils Salute Jerusalem, with an exhibition of agricultural tools, as well as free freshly squeezed juice made from 10 tons of oranges and the distribution of 120 tons of fresh produce to volunteer organizations working for the needy people of Jerusalem.
* Wednesday, 1 PM, Jerusalem Salutes Exceptional Police Officers, at City Hall
* Wednesday, 8 PM, Business Leaders Salute Jerusalem, at Mt. Zion Hotel, with Mayor Uri Lupolianski (by invitation only).
* Wednesday, 8:30 PM, at Sacher Park musical entertainment
* Thursday, 2 PM, at Mt. Herzl: National Memorial Ceremony for the slain soldiers of the Six Day War, attended by Jerusalem Mayor Uri Lupolianski.
* Thursday, 3-4:30 PM: Mayor's Reception at Tower of David Museum, open to the public, free of charge.
* Thursday, 8 PM - Tower of David Museum: Yakir Yerushalayim Awards Ceremony: Mayor Lupolianski will award the "Yakir Yerushalayim" [Honored Jerusalemite] honors to people who made special contributions to the city of Jerusalem (by invitation only).
Pollard's letter states:
My Brothers and Sisters, the whole House of Israel:
Over the last 21 years it has never been easy for me to get a message out from within the prison walls. Every such attempt diminishes the limited opportunity that I have for maintaining contact with the outside world.
That is why - right from the start of my incarceration - I have always deliberately avoided using the limited opportunities to communicate with the Israeli public to talk about my own private hell. I have always preferred to forego expressing my feelings of isolation, betrayal and abandonment; or speaking about my deteriorating health and the life-and-death nature of my daily existence. Instead, I chose to focus on the national aspects of my plight: the mitzvah of Pidyon Shvuyim [the commandment of Redeeming Captives] and the moral obligation never to abandon a wounded soldier in the field.
However, time is running out, and I can no longer afford to continue in the same vein.
Very few prisoners survive 21 years under the conditions in which I have been held and continue to be held. Those Israeli officials, who have for years claimed to be using "quiet diplomacy" for my release, while waiting for time to take its own effect, never imagined that the "Pollard problem" would still be around after all this time. They never dreamed that I would refuse to give up and just die.
The support and encouragement which I have received over the years, first and foremost from my wife, Esther, and from my rabbi, HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, shlita [may he live a long and pleasant life], and from all of the activists and supporters who work with them in the struggle for my release, is what has kept me alive and enabled me to go on.
The fact that I am still alive today is a complete miracle. My rabbi, HIs Honor HaRav Mordecai Eliyahu, says that the reason I have survived miraculously from day to day is because the Shechinah [Divine Presence] is with me and has been accompanying me in prison throughout my long ordeal. The Rav says that by its actions, the Government of Israel has not only abandoned and betrayed me, but it has also shown no mercy to the Shechinah in captivity.
My brothers and sisters! I have been slowly bleeding to death before your very eyes for 21 years! My desperate situation, the result of the Government's treachery and abandonment, is a Chillul HaShem [a desecration of G-d's Name] that screams to the Heavens.
And where is the Nation? I cry out to you from the depths of my soul: Tzion, ha-lo tishalee l'shlom assirayich? "Zion, won't you seek the welfare of your captives!
[the first line of a famous poem by 12th-century Jewish philosopher and rabbi Yehudah Halevi, the source of the modern-day concept Prisoner of Zion]"
If Zion will not seek the welfare of her captives, it is not the personal problem of the captives. The problem rests entirely upon Zion and upon all who dwell in Zion.
I do not fear for my own fate. Whatever Heaven decrees for me I will accept with love. But I am filled with dread for the fate of the Nation which I so love. If the Nation continues to allow the Government to ignore the divine commandment "Do not stand idly by your brother's blood," without crying out or lifting a finger to stop this terrible sin, I am afraid to even to think about what the consequences will be.
I do not know how much time is left. I only hope and pray with all my might, for the sake of the Nation of Israel, that we will all wake up and do what needs to be done, now, before it is too late!
With love of Israel,