Pollard Drama Performed in Knesset
Hillel Fendel - Arutz7 News - October 22, 2007
It doesn't happen every day: A play was performed at the Knesset Tuesday - a hard-hitting drama about Israel's abandonment of Jonathan Pollard.
The play, entitled "Wounded in the Field," was performed by the Aspeklaria Theater, at the initiative of MK Uri Ariel (National Union). Ariel is the chairman of the Knesset Forum for Jonathan Pollard.
The 300 assembled guests included Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Yisrael Aumann, several groups of high school youths, interested citizens from around the country, and some ten Knesset Members. As MK Ariel told the audience, each Knesset Member is entitled to use the Knesset auditorium once a year for what he deems to be a worthy purpose, "and I chose Jonathan Pollard... It's true that it is not customary to put on plays in the Knesset, but the Pollard affair is certainly a very un-customary issue..."
The play, written by Yael Rubenstein, depicts Pollard's abandonment by the Israeli government. His immediate superior is shown to have adopted, from the very beginning, a cavalier attitude regarding Pollard's safety in the event that suspicions against him arise. When the noose does in fact tighten, the handler and his assistant are able to quickly leave the United States; Pollard, on the other hand, in the play's most gripping and moving scene, is himself physically thrown out of the Israeli Embassy where he had been promised asylum. This happens, banally enough, only after the guard on duty receives instructions from "above" not to let him in.
With Pollard knocking frantically on the Embassy door, the guard is seen speaking on the phone, saying, "Uh, someone here named Pollard is here, he's all worked up, there are police cars around the building, and he says he worked as an agent for us... What's that? Not to let him in?... Are you sure?... OK... So you're sure... He says he's an agent for us... With force? ... You're sure... OK." The scene ends with Pollard, forcibly evicted, sprawled in disgrace on the floor outside the Embassy.
Next to be documented is Israel's failure to aid him during the subsequent trial, his defense lawyer's inexplicable failure to file an appeal within the required time, the Israeli Supreme Court's rejection of his request to be recognized as a Prisoner of Zion, and Israel's failure to have ever filed a formal request with the United States for his release.
[J4JP clarifcation: The play "Patzuah BaShetach" is a
fictional account of the Pollard issue. It does not "document" events or specific facts. On the contrary. While the play is based on fact, it takes broad poetic license. For example, there is a scene depicting a trial, which in real life never occurred! Jonathan Pollard never had a trial! He was sentenced to life on the basis of a plea agreement with the US government which Pollard honored and the US abrogated on every count. See the facts of the Pollard case.]
Pollard's actions in supplying Israel with information critical to its defense, as was supposed to have been effected by the U.S. according to a treaty, are credited for Israel's readiness for the Iraqi Scud missiles during the 1991 Gulf War.
Following remarks by several MKs who expressed regret at the government's actions towards Pollard and determination to continue working for his release, Esther Pollard related that Israel's Ambassador to the U.S., Salai Meridor, had visited her husband in prison this past August.
[J4JP Clarification: Following the play, Mrs. Pollard and a number of others including Pollard attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, were invited to address the assembly. Mrs Pollard spoke only after MK Uri Ariel read aloud an October 22nd letter written by Jonathan Pollard to Israeli Ambassador Sallai Merridor who had visited him in prison on August 25, 2007. Mrs. Pollard explained how the visit of the Israeli Ambassador to her husband, after 22 years in prison, seen in its proper context, is a clear example of Israel's cynicism towards Jonathan and reflective of the government's on-going policy of abandonment. Unfortunately Mrs. Pollard's remarks have been misconstrued in this news report. See J4JP clarifications that follow].
"We were fairly impressed," Mrs. Pollard later told Arutz-7 regarding Meridor's visit, "especially by the fact that there was no media - indicating that this was not going to be just another public relations gimmick. However, Jonathan was very surprised to see that Meridor came with absolutely no plans or instructions for us, as would have befitted the government's claim that secret, ongoing efforts and contacts were underway.
[J4JP: After 22 years of abandonment and betrayal, neither Jonathan nor Esther Pollard "were impressed" by the visit of Ambassador Sallai Merridor. Jonathan was not surprized. He was disgusted by the callousness reflected in the Ambassador showing up after 22 years, absolutely empty-handed. No news. No update. No initiative for Jonathan's release. Nothing. Nevertheless, instead of showing him the door, Jonathan Pollard spoke with him. The Ambassador was very impressed with Jonathan and said he wanted to help.]
The Ambassador and Jonathan had a very good chemistry between them, and he asked Jonathan with all sincerity how he could help. Jonathan provided him with a list of the most basic steps that the government could take... When the visit ended, it was an emotional parting, with Meridor saying, 'I want to be the one to personally escort you home, very soon.'"
"Weeks went by," Mrs. Pollard continued, "and - nothing. Contrary to all prior indications, we heard absolutely nothing from him. It happens every time; an official comes, seems to want to do something, and then, following what can only be orders from higher up in the government, nothing happens; a total cut-off... On Oct. 7, Jonathan wrote to Meridor, reminding him that he had not heard from him; and still, nothing."
Mrs. Pollard presented a letter to the audience [J4JP: read by MK Uri Ariel] written by her husband just last week, in which he reveals that he asked Meridor [J4JP: this request was made in a previous letter, written October 7th] to "relay my request to the Prime Minister for an apology and a retraction of the lies being disseminated by his office to citizens of Israel. I enclose[d] a sample of a letter, provided to us by an Israeli citizen, which states that my wife and I and my 'close associates' are receiving 'full support in every respect' from the Government of Israel. I sen[t] you documents which prove that in 22 years, my wife and I have never received a cent from the Government of Israel."
Mrs. Pollard concluded, "The essential point is this: It doesn't require rocket science to understand that it doesn't take 22 years to get one single agent out of captivity from a friendly nation - especially when the full price has already been paid, at the Wye Plantation talks, in the form of the release of hundreds of terrorists - and especially when the sentence for this offense is usually 2-4 years. It does not take forever to secure the release of one captive, unless this was the plan all along!"
As emphasized in the play, the Pollards continue to place their faith not in politicians, "but in G-d and in the people in the street who will refuse to forget Pollard, and who will not let up until he is back home here with us."
J4JP Post Script
As Nissan GanOr, the head of The Committee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home, noted in a memo to his executive team following yesterday's event at the Knesset: "The MKs who spoke at this event did not express regret or remorse for their failure to act. Nor did they apologize to Jonathan for the government's action (or shall we say, lack of action on his behalf) as has been misreported in some media. What struck me most of all was how the MKs were too ashamed to come over to Mrs. Pollard. They made their remarks on stage and then beat a hasty retreat. They simply could not face her." No wonder.
Justice4JP and The Commitee to Bring Jonathan Pollard Home thank MK Uri Ariel for sponsoring this event. We are deeply grateful to our own Asher Mivtzari for coordinating, organizing and orchestrating the millions of details that went into making this event a such a success.
See Also: Jonathan Pollard's October 22 letter to Ambassador Sallai Merridor