Exclusive: Jonathan Pollard to Maariv

After a quarter of a century in prison, Pollard dreams of the day he will finally be released

Arik Bender - Maariv - Excerpt of Front-Page Feature - November 21, 2010

Today, a quarter century ago, Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard was arrested and sent to an American prison. Prisoner number 09185-105 looks out from his cell and hears the growing calls in Israel and the United States for his release. He says: "The letters that come to me from Israel are my oxygen... I live for the day when my beloved wife will race into my open arms when I land at Ben Gurion airport."

After more than 9,000 days in prison, Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard now hopes that his release is closer than ever before. "Every day I get up in the morning and I pray that today will be the day," he told Israel's Maariv newspaper from his federal prison cell in Butner, North Carolina. "Every day, I pray today will be the day the warden will walk in and tell me: Pollard, get your things together. You're going home today!"

"I get a lot of mail from people all over the country. I am always surprised that the Israeli people remember me, that they care about me, that they want me home. These letters are my oxygen."

"In their letters, people often share with me personal stories. Some of the stories are simply amazing. I am always impressed by the courage and strength of our people! I feel blessed to be part of this nation."

"My wife, Esther, has been the one consistent ray of light in my life. Her faith in me, her encouragement, her optimism, and her devotion have sustained me through the hardest times."

"I imagine how it will be when the day comes that my beloved wife, Esther, will race into my open arms when I arrive at Ben Gurion airport. I picture our joyful embrace. I imagine holding her very close for a very long time as tears of gratitude and joy run down our faces. I wipe her tears away and kiss her eyes and tell her over and over again, "Esther, we are home! We are finally home!"

"All around us, family and friends and our people will be sharing in our joy, laughing and smiling and welcoming us home. May the day speedily arrive!"

The efforts to bring about Pollard's release continue on all fronts.