J4JP News - April 10, 2009 [First day of Chol HaMoed Pesach]
Esther Pollard was interviewed in Hebrew by Radio Kol Chai this morning, the first day of Chol HaMoed Pesach, 10 April 2009. The following is a rendition of the interview in English.
INTRO: Radio Kol Chai interviewers, Kobi and Yossi, welcome Esther Pollard to the morning show and introduce her as the wife of an Israeli captive in America on his 8,541st day of captivity.
RKC: Is there any hope, Esther?
ESTHER: As a matter of fact, you caught me now on my way to a very important meeting, indeed a critical meeting!
RKC: Who are you meeting with?
ESTHER: I am going to be speaking with the one who has the absolute final say on Jonathan's fate.
RKC: Who could that be? Do you mean Obama?
ESTHER: (laughs). No, not Obama.
RKC: Then who?"
ESTHER: I am on my way to the Kotel, where I will enter the Kotel Tunnels to go stand opposite the Holy of Holies and there I will be speaking with the Borei HaOlam (the Creator of the World), The Boss - the only one who will decide Jonathan's fate. Is there any hope, you ask? Is there a Borei HaOlam?! As long as there is a Borei HaOlam, there is hope!
RKC: But why won't the Americans release him?
ESTHER: You have to understand. Jonathan is not a private person. He belongs to Israel. As long as Israel does not ask for his release in a serious manner, as long as the Government of Israel shows no interest in him, the Americans are free to continue to do with him as they please.
The Americans watch Israel's every move carefully. Look, I am sure you also heard the incoming Prime Minster's first speech to the Knesset. Did you hear the name Jonathan Pollard mentioned? Did you see the special guests that were invited to the Knesset by the Prime Minister - the wives and mothers of other Israeli captives? Did you see the TV cameras pan on these women in the Honored Visitors Gallery, as the new Prime Minister personally welcomed them by name. Did you see Jonathan Pollard's wife among the invitees? Of course not. Did you hear Jonathan Pollard's name mentioned at all? Neither did I. Not a word about Jonathan Pollard has been uttered by the new Prime Minister since he was elected. In fact he goes out of his way to avoid the issue.
RKC: But what about Obama. He claims to be different, that he seeks justice, even closed down the Guantanamo prison.
ESTHER: First of all, did you know that George W. Bush did not turn down Jonathan's petition for clemency? He did not reject it. Bush simply left the petition for Obama. The petition is on Obama's desk waiting for a response. Why was the petition left open this way? So it can be used at a moment's notice by the American State Department, to exploit Jonathan as a bargaining chip in the Middle East "peace process". And this would not be the first time.
As for closing down Guantanamo, that proves nothing. Are you aware that the Americans just released an Arab terrorist murderer (See news article.) who planted 3 car bombs in the United States and tried to murder Golda Meir when she visited the US?! He had a 30 year sentence, which is essentially a life sentence, which he was supposed to serve day for day. But he was released this year, after serving about half of his sentence. And do you know the excuse that was given for his release? If it were not so outrageous, it would be funny. The excuse was "good behavior"! Good behavior??!!! He was released and deported to some unnamed country, so that he can now, once again, be a threat to the free world. Arab murderers are set free at the drop of a pin, but a Jew who worked on behalf of Israel continues to languish.
RKC: What about Passover?
ESTHER: This is the most natural time in the world, the Jewish Holiday of Freedom, for the Israeli Prime Minister to ask for Jonathan's release or even to simply make a public statement about Jonathan for the Israeli public --- but this too has been completely avoided. As if Israel's Prime Minister knows the name of only one captive and it is not Jonathan Pollard.
RKC: It is troubling that you have no contact with the new government and no efforts are being made to reach out to Jonathan, do you have any idea why this is?
ESTHER: It is shocking, but not surprising. We know this Prime Minister. This is the Prime Minister that abandoned Jonathan at Wye 11 years ago, and in the 11 years that have passed, has never once voluntarily mentioned Jonathan's name. At Wye, Jonathan was exploited as a bargaining chip - a fig leaf to justify Israel's release of murderers and terrorists with blood on their hands. Did you know that the previous Netanyahu government was the first Government of Israel to close a deal to free Arab murderers and terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands? Jonathan's freedom, as it were, was purchased with the release of 750 Arab terrorists and murderers with blood on their hands. Then he was dumped and abandoned. But that is how the precedent for freeing Arab murderers was set at Wye. The murderers went free, but Jonathan remains in prison. (See The Wye Page.) We have seen how this precedent has taken root over the years and how its use has become commonplace. Now no Israeli government even hesitates to free murderers and terrorists with blood on their hands.
RKC: When did you last speak with Jonathan?
ESTHER: Before the holiday started.
RKC: Does he have everything he needs for Passover
ESTHER: Hardly. We have spent the last two days in a virtual military operation trying to ensure that Jonathan will not literally starve on Passover. We fought for 7 years for the right to have Kosher for Passover food for Jonathan. This is the only time of the year, he can get kosher "meals" (airline type meals). They are inadequate nutrition for a healthy man, how much more so for one in Jonathan's condition, but for Jonathan, these meals are a huge "treat" after being so deprived of meat and other kosher food all the rest of the year.
HOWEVER, even this small "treat" was going to be withheld from him this year. On the day before the Passover Holiday, the authorities informed Jonathan that the Kosher for Passover food is "missing". Jonathan asked what he was supposed to eat for the week and was told that it was his problem. We were stunned. We had no one to turn to for help in Israel. Think about it! Jonathan is an Israeli agent in captivity and there is no one in Israel to talk to! We ended up having to turn to American Congressmen for help. Thank G-d, with their help, a lot of pressure was brought to bear on the situation, and within a few hours Jonathan was called in and informed that the "missing" kosher airline meals were suddenly "found". Last year, his kosher food was stolen and never "found" and for most of the week of Passover, he simply went hungry.
RKC: Esther, we admire your faith and your resilience. We hope your prayers for Jonathan at the Kotel today will be speedily answered to the good!
ESTHER: Thank you, but my prayers are not enough. Jonathan is not in this alone. Jonathan belongs to all of Israel. He is the responsibility of all of the Nation. His situation is a reflection of what state we as a people are in. If we are not deserving of his release after nearly a quarter of a century, what does that say about us? The entire nation has to do Tshuva. The entire nation has to pray to HaShem for Jonathan's release. Stop looking to a government that has no fear of Heaven. We have to redeem ourselves by redeeming Jonathan. We must do what is right and good and turn back to HaShem!
RKC: Esther, you are right, the entire nation must pray for Jonathan and we at Radio Kol Chai are trying to do our part.
ESTHER: Kol HaKavod! (All respect to you!) You are doing a great job. If only all of the media would follow your example! Radio Kol Chai has always supported the mitzvah of pidyan shvuyim, always shows interest in Jonathan's plight, and keeps its listeners well-informed.
RKC: Esther, thank you for your kind remarks and for being with us this morning. May we merit to see Jonathan returned to us during this week of our holiday of freedom
And may it come true for Jonathan as it is written: "In the month of Nissan they were redeemed; and in the month of Nissan they are destined to be redeemed once again!"