Nationwide Activities For Pollard Continue

Hillel Fendel - Arutz7 News - March 14, 2007

Impatient with Jonathan Pollard's continued incarceration - he has been in US prison for over 21 years - a yeshiva high school class is setting off on a three-day march to Jerusalem this week, calling for his release.

Some 25 junior-year students in the ORT Yeshiva High School in Tiberias are in the midst of final preparations for the march, which will take them along a unique historic route from Petach Tikvah to Jerusalem.

Rabbi Avichai Golan, the school's projects director, explained to Arutz-7, "Every year, our 11th grade sets out on a long trek - but this year, with Pollard in jail for his 22nd year, the students decided that they want it to be on behalf of Pollard. We'll be starting out on the first day of the month of redemption - Nissan; there is no reason that Pollard should not be home in time for the holiday of redemption, Passover, which falls in the middle of Nissan."

"The students feel that it seems now to be an et ratzon - a time of good will - given the several projects that are underway on Pollard's behalf," Rabbi Golan said. "Now is the time to wake up the country to demand that our government submit an official request to the US for his release."

Jonathan Pollard, granted Israeli citizenship in 1996, has also been granted honorary citizenship of several Israeli towns. In yet another move showing the broad support Pollard has amidst the Israeli public, the National Religious Party is now initiating a move to have the city of Jerusalem grant this status to Pollard.

'From Bondage to Freedom'

The high school march, entitled "From Bondage to Freedom," is scheduled to begin near Petach Tikvah, and will end 85 kilometers (52 miles) later, at the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The students will stop at various historic sites along the way, such as the Burma Road dug out for the convoys during the War for Independence, Latrun, the battle sites of the Maccabees, the Bnei Brit cave in Kislon, and more. The marchers will spend the first night in Kibbutz Shaalvim, and the second in Kibbutz Tzova."

"We hope to attract many other high school students from all around the country to join us on the last day as we make the ascent to Jerusalem," Golan said. "You can imagine what an impact it can have if hundreds of youths waving Pollard banners and wearing Pollard shirts walk along the final trek of the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway to the nation's capital."

If that grandiose plan does not work, the original group of students will march into Jerusalem on their own, wearing Pollard shirts and carrying Pollard banners, meeting up with hundreds of other students and Pollard supporters at the US Consulate at 4 PM. Once there, they will present a petition signed by close to 8,000 students demanding clemency for Pollard. The marchers will end their trek at 5 PM at the Western Wall.

With the recent statement by former CIA head James Woolsey on Arutz-7 in favor of clemency for Pollard, following years of CIA antipathy towards him, it is now felt that many Americans who feared that supporting Pollard would bring on dual-loyalty accusations can now be more open about their true feelings.

For several weeks, a massive call-in campaign to the White House in favor of clemency for Pollard - backed by major American-Jewish organizations - has been underway.

Finally, last month, two of Israel's top Torah sages took the unusual step of writing a brief but powerful personal letter to U.S. President Bush, asking him to pardon Pollard. The letter by the two rabbis, Rabbi Yosef Shalom Elyashiv of Jerusalem and Rabbi Aaron Leib Shteinman of Bnei Brak, was indicative of the concern felt by Jews around the globe for Pollard's fate.