Over Four Cups of Wine and Four Empty Chairs

HaRav Yaakov Medan - HaTzofeh - April 1, 2007
Translated to English by J4JP

May be reprinted with appropriate credit to author and venue.

Tomorrow night we will all sit down at the Pesach Seder to celebrate the Festival of Freedom. Our holiday joy will be accompanied by four full cups of wine and four empty seats. The seat of Gilad Shalit will, most likely, remain empty as Abu Mazzen will continue to speak out of two sides of his mouth. To Europe, he will send the message that he is a respectable head of state; to us Israelis he will transmit the message that he is the head of a terrorist organization holding a secret weapon. He will continue to press for an impossible ransom: that we free murderers of children in exchange for Gilad.

Apparently, the seats of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldvasser will also remain empty. The Secretary of the United Nations will also continue to talk out of two sides of his mouth. To us, he will say how important it is to abide by the restrictions imposed on us by Security Council Resolution 1701 regarding the Lebanese border and our patrol flights there. At the same time, he will continue to shrug his shoulders when we demand that he take real action to secure the release of Eldad and Ehud, as is required from the exact same Security Council Resolution.

It seems that we, too, will continue to roll our eyes and talk out of two sides of our mouths. On the one hand, we will half-heartedly demand of the world the release of the kidnapped soldiers. On the other hand we will continue to talk to the terrorist from Gaza decked out in the president's suit, about the price of terror he demands in exchange for what every government knows it is its duty to provide for free. We will continue to talk with the UN and its European emissaries in Lebanon without demanding any serious action according to Resolution 1701 against the Hizbollah and their backers, while they hold Ehud and Eldad.

And there is also the fourth seat. Excuse me; it is in fact the first seat that has stood shamefaced for 22 years. In that time period we have replaced our furniture time after time but this one chair still remains, the chair of Jonathan Pollard!

When we sat down to the Seder years ago when we were much younger, Pollard was already cleaning toilets at FCI Butner in North Carolina. While we immersed ourselves in the warm water of the mikveh to purify ourselves for the holiday, Pollard endured repeated episodes of ice water from a freezing cold shower beating down on his head and chained hands, as part of machinations to drive him insane. Yes, the "enlightened" Americans adopted this form of torture straight out of the Spanish Inquisition of Torquemada, five hundred years ago.

And why?--to cover up what they want to hide regarding the false charges leveled against Pollard: that he delivered American agents to the Soviets. These false charges were refuted a long time ago. Today, everyone knows who did this --Aldrich Ames. Today, everyone knows how minor Pollard's offense was, even by American standards. Today, even the former Head of the CIA , James Woolsey, calls for his release.

In official Israeli terms, Pollard is an Israeli agent. He transmitted to Israel information critical to its security and its fight against terror (in the days when it still fought terror and did not run from or capitulate to it). This was information that the United States had committed to deliver to Israel as part of a security treaty, but failed to carry out-- for obscure reasons that smell badly of oil interests.

Pollard continues to sit in jail because the State of Israel, for whom Pollard worked, does not demand his release. Pollard does not receive appropriate medical treatment and his life is in real danger. There are some people in Israel sitting at the cabinet table who apparently think it convenient that Pollard should die in his prison cell. That way, the extent of their betrayal and infamy may never become known.

And will we also continue to be silent next to the Pesach "table of freedom" with its four empty chairs: for the three missing IDF soldiers and Pollard, the abandoned Israeli agent?

HaRav Yaacov Medan is the Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Har Etzion in Alon Shvut.

See Also: