America's Jewish Captive
Moshe Feiglin - Maariv NRG - March 11, 2007
Translated from the Ma'ariv NRG website by Manhigut Yehudit - 21 Adar, 5767
The federal prison in Butner, North Carolina looks like a tip top army base. Hoping to add a few more minutes to our meeting with Jonathon Pollard, Shmuel Sackett and I arrive a few minutes early and wait in our car in the parking lot. "You can't wait here," a policewoman announces to us. "We can't sit in our car?" we ask, surprised. "That's right," the policewoman persists. "This sure isn't Ramle prison in Israel," I say to myself as we drive out of the parking lot.
Our connection to Jonathon Pollard is very important to us. We believe in loyalty. We believe that there is truth in the world and that there is good and evil. Those who forget Jonathon Pollard ignore truth and justice. They lose the moral ability to distinguish between good and evil. This approach has created a culture of disloyalty in Israel: Disloyalty to the Land of Israel, to our nation's Jewish identity, to our nation's values and of course, to people. Jonathon Pollard is the quintessential victim of this culture of disloyalty. The revolution that Manhigut Yehudit leads is the return to the culture of loyalty.
Jonathon enters the visitor's room with a smile on his face, conducting himself like a gracious host. Every time that I meet Jonathon, I am amazed by his ability to control his feelings. When I hug him, a fraction of the pain of his tragedy creeps sickeningly through my veins. Jonathon speaks. He talks of current events in Israel. He seems to be more updated than I am. Despite the barbed wire fences in North Carolina, Jonathon's penetrating vision analyzes what is happening in Israel better than all the local pundits.
Time is running out on our visit. "What can we do for you?" Shmuel Sackett asks Jonathon. And then something in Jonathon seems to give. Suddenly, he is no longer the gracious host in his living room. "I want you to see this," he says and takes off his shoe. His ankle is distorted and swollen. Jonathon sticks his finger deep into the joint, as if his foot was made out of play-dough. He removes his finger, but the hole that he made remains. "All the joints in my body are in the same state," he explains. "Aren't you being treated?" I ask. "All that they give me is painkillers," he answers with a smile. "But I've given up on those as well. To get them, I have to wait in line for an hour. My body simply cannot deal with that."
Suddenly, I understand that Jonathon is worried that by the time we do something, there may be nobody left to save.
New voices are emanating from America. President Bush has been hinting that he would be happy to release Pollard for Passover. Senior officials in the American government and James Woolsey, who was head of the CIA when Pollard was captured, publicly call for his release.
What is needed now is for Israel to officially request Pollard's release. But amazingly, the country for which Jonathon sacrificed his life sends the Americans the opposite message: Pollard does not interest Israel's government. 112 Knesset members have signed a letter calling for Pollard's release, but first Sharon and now Olmert refuse to present it to President Bush.
Jonathon Pollard is the Jew who saved the Israeli from the American. He symbolizes the identity crisis that we refuse to deal with. Pollard forces our Jewish identity upon us. He calls on us to demand his release because he is not an American and we are not Israelis - we are all Jews. That is why he sacrificed his life for us. That is why we have to act on his behalf now.
Standing by our betrayed captive is an acid test. To save him, we must express our Jewish identity. A Jewish Israel could easily bring about Jonathon's release. But the Israeli government that is estranged from its Judaism prefers to let him rot in prison.
The following effort is being organized on behalf of Jonathan Pollard. Manhigut Yehudit applauds all actions taken on behalf of this Jewish hero. This program is simple and can be done by every one. Please do your part!
Nationwide White House Call-In for Jonathan Pollard
White House Telephone Number 1-202-456-1111
A nationwide 60-day call-in to the White House campaign has begun and will continue through the Holiday of Pesach / Passover, the Holiday of Freedom, to call the attention of President George W. Bush to the continued unfair incarceration of Jonathan Pollard.
Organizers of the campaign remind the community that the White House counts and tallies all in-coming calls, so every single phone call makes a difference. The White House phone number is 1-202-456-1111. Callers are asked to call daily between the hours of 11-2 pm EST and to encourage their family members and friends to do the same. Callers are reminded to expect the lines to be busy and to keep calling until they get through.
For additional information about the Jonathan Pollard cause, or to print out the campaign ad, please visit jonathanpollard.org
The author, Moshe Feiglin, is the head of the Manhigut Yehudit (Jewish Leadership) Faction of the Likud Party.