A Quarter of a Century for Jonathan Pollard

National Council of Young Israel Weekly E-date

November 20, 2009

To many of us, November 21, 2009 may seem to be just another typical day on the calendar. The fact is, however, that this day carries with it a significance that warrants the attention of the greater Jewish community. On November 21, 2009, Jonathan Pollard will begin his 25th year in prison. It has been nearly a quarter of a century since Jonathan was arrested in 1985 and pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver classified information to the State of Israel, an ally of the United States.

The story behind his imprisonment is well known. Jonathan Pollard never had a trial. At the request of both the U.S. and Israeli governments, he entered into a plea agreement, which spared both governments a long, difficult, expensive and potentially embarrassing trial. Jonathan Pollard fulfilled his end of the plea agreement, cooperating fully with the prosecution. Nevertheless, Pollard received a life sentence and a recommendation that he never be paroled - in complete violation of the plea agreement he had reached with the government. On March 4, 1987, he was sentenced to the maximum penalty, life in prison.

Jonathan Pollard has repeatedly expressed his remorse publicly and in private in letters to many Presidents and others. He has said that he sincerely regrets having broken the law and is sorry that he did not find a legal means to act upon his concerns for Israel.

Jonathan Pollard's life sentence is grossly disproportionate when compared to the sentences of others who have spied for allied nations and even when compared with sentences given to those spying for non-allied nations. Although the median sentence for his offense is 2 to 4 years, Jonathan Pollard is about to begin serving his 25th year in prison. He spent 7 years in solitary confinement in the harshest unit of the harshest prison in the Federal System - FCI Marian. Countless elected officials, individuals from the national intelligence arena and the legal world, as well as religious and community leaders, have described Jonathan Pollard's sentence as excessive, and have called for his sentence to be commuted.

In addition, Jonathan Pollard is in poor health, having developed diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-glaucoma, and arthritis while in prison.

We must take this opportunity to reflect on Jonathan Pollard's plight and pray that his sentence is commuted so he can finally return home to Israel and reunite with his family.

The National Council of Young Israel urges people to say a prayer on behalf of Jonathan Pollard, which was composed by Rabbi Yonah Metzger, the Chief Rabbi of Israel. To view the Chief Rabbi's prayer, click here

In addition, the National Council of Young Israel encourages people to write to Jonathan Pollard in prison. Not only do the letters to Jonathan demonstrate to him that people care very deeply about the pain and suffering that he continues to endure, they also give him the necessary strength and support to continue.

Here is Jonathan's mailing address:

Jonathan Pollard #09185-016
c/o FCI Butner
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC
U.S.A 27509-1000

In conjunction with the upcoming milestone of Jonathan Pollard's incarceration, Justice for Jonathan Pollard has republished a number of what the organization considers to be "some of the best-written, most informative, and most interesting articles, essays and information written about the case over the last two and a half decades."

One of those articles is a piece entitled "The Ghost of Israel's Sealed Rooms," which was written by William Northrop, who was the Jerusalem bureau chief of New Dimensions Magazine. The article, which was initially printed in New Dimensions Magazine in 1992, provides an in-depth analysis of the integral role that Jonathan Pollard played in Israel's decision to enhance its civil defense plan. The article examines how Jonathan's intervention enabled Israel to be prepared for a possible chemical or biological attack by Iraq's Saddam Hussein during the Gulf War. Even to this day Israel remains prepared thanks to the information Jonathan Pollard provided. Because of Pollard, every home that is built in Israel today, by law, must include a sealed room.

To read this intriguing article in its entirety, click here.